Football: Danes kill off Welsh hopes

Wales 0 Denmark 2

WALES ENTERED a new era at Anfield last night much as they emerged from their last one, searching desperately for the next decent result. Bobby Gould, the reviled Englishman abroad, has gone, but whoever succeeds him is extremely unlikely to have qualification for the European Championship as a welcome present.

A defeat, courtesy of Jon Dahl Tomasson's 85th minute goal and Stig Tofting's injury-time penalty, was marginally better than the rout by Italy on Saturday, but not by much, and it almost certainly ended Welsh hopes that they will qualify via the play-offs by finishing second in Group One. Indeed, but for a series of saves from Paul Jones, the result could have been just as embarrassing.

The only noticeable difference was that a Welsh home game did not ring out to "Gould must go", but even the songs exulting the caretaker manager, Neville Southall, had a hollow ring to them. If this is the brave new world, the consensus was, you can keep it.

For 84 minutes Wales answered Southall's plea for passion, but as their legs ran out of energy so did their luck. The dragons breathed fire in midfield but extinguishing foam up front and Peter Schmeichel, on probably his last appearance in Britain, did not have a shot to save. His only problem was the taunts from the Welsh crowd - and even that was mild by Anfield standards.

Nevertheless, Southall was happy. "The players showed more commitment, character and bravery than they have for a long time," he said. "They were prepared to die for their country and you can't ask for more than that. I'm very proud to be Welsh tonight and the Welsh public should be too."

Proud, but bereft. The fact Wales had to play in England while Cardiff Arms Park is being rebuilt seemed to encompass their problems. Leaderless and groundless, the team could hardly have been encouraged by the sight that greeted them when they took to the pitch. The Kop and the Centenary Stand were half empty and Anfield Road would have been totally deserted but for a small knot of Danish supporters. This after an unpopular manager had departed and there had been appeals from Southall to turn this pocket of Merseyside into Wales for a night.

Ryan Giggs curled a free-kick 25 yards out into the side-netting after 18 minutes and Gary Speed also grazed a post with a header, but when Ebbe Sand drifted a header wide after 38 minutes and then Jan Heintze was denied by Jones' charge after a delightful one-two with Miklos Molnar, the trend was set.

Wales moved Giggs forward and inward from the left flank in a forlorn attempt for him to get the ball, but the pattern had been set and Denmark's flow was irresistible. At least it was for everyone but Jones, who made a series of brilliant saves, none better than his one-handed tip over the bar from Sand's point-blank header after 47 minutes. Even when the Southampton goalkeeper was beaten Andy Melville popped up on the line to clear Sand's shot.

It was hugely ironic, then, that Jones should be at fault for Denmark's first goal six minutes from the end. He went for and failed to gather Tofting's long throw and, as the ball fell from his grasp, Tomasson, the former Newcastle striker, turned and lashed the ball into the net.

Wales looked like they had been on the wrong end of a heavy punch but worse was to follow in injury time. Chris Coleman challenged Tomasson clumsily and, when the referee awarded a penalty, Tofting scored from the spot, sending Jones the wrong way with a chip into the right-hand corner.

WALES (4-4-2): Jones (Southampton); Jenkins (Huddersfield), Coleman (Fulham), Melville (Fulham), Barnard (Barnsley); Robinson (Charlton), Hughes (Southampton), Speed (Newcastle), Giggs (Manchester United); Hartson (Wimbledon), Saunders (Benfica). Substitutes: Pembridge (Benfica) for Robinson 85; Bellamy (Norwich) for Hartson, 87; Legg (Cardiff) for Barnard, 90.

DENMARK (4-4-2): Schmeichel (Manchester Utd); Colding (Brondby), Henriksen (AB Copenhagen), Hogh (Fenerbahce), Heintze (Bayer Leverkusen); Jorgensen (Udinese), Goldbaek (Chelsea), A Nielsen (Tottenham), Gronkjaer (Ajax); Sand (Brondby), Molnar (Seville). Substitutes: Tomasson (Feyenoord) for Molnar, 70; Tofting (Duisburg) for A Nielsen, 82; Frandsen (Bolton) for Jorgensen, 90.

Referee: A Ancion (Belgium).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Polish Speaking Buying Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project