The Quarter Finals of the UEFA European Championships 2020, being played in 2021, are taking place over the next two days and Brentford will be represented. After the 24 teams that started the competition were reduced to 16 during the Group Stage, a further eight were knocked out in the Second Round in a memorable four days of football. The eight remaining nations compete in the Quarter Finals today, Friday 2 July, and tomorrow.
Five Brentford players started the tournament and have played 11 games between them so far but only two remain involved. The latest to head home is Pontus Jansson, who was in the Sweden squad. He was an unused substitute as they won Group E to reach the knock-out stages and also stayed on the bench as Sweden were eliminated on Tuesday, 27 June, in the last Second Round game. They went to extra time against Ukraine but were reduced to ten men and conceded a decisive goal in the last seconds of the tie.
When Halil Dervişoğlu played for Turkey against Italy at the start of the event, he became the first contracted Brentford player to appear in the tournament. He followed in the footsteps of Henrik Dalsgaard, who is the only player to be on Brentford books and appear in a FIFA World Cup, as well Julian Jeanvier and Kamohelo Mokotjo, who appeared in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019. Halil appeared twice for Turkey but they lost all three games and were eliminated.
Marcus Forss and Finland also left after the first stage. They beat Denmark in a game that will only ever be remembered for the remarkable work done to save the life of Christian Eriksen, who had a cardiac arrest on the pitch. However, defeats to Russia and Belgium left Finland third in Group B. The four best third-placed teams progressed to the later stages but Finland were ranked as fifth-best and were eliminated.
Denmark did manage to progress from Group B and their Brentford representatives helped them on the way. Mathias Jensen and Christian Nørgaard both played the later stages of Denmark's 4-1 win over Russia that secured their progress. Denmark continued their run with a 4-0 win over Wales in the Second Round last Saturday.
Mathias and Christian both appeared as substitutes in that win over Wales, the first of the Second Round ties, and have been involved heavily in their run so far. Mathias has been involved in all four games while Christian has played three. Mathias took his tally of Denmark caps to ten in the win over Wales and also set up the third goal.
Mathias and Christian will look to make Brentford history tomorrow. If Denmark beat Czech Republic in their Quarter Final tie - being played in Baku at 5pm BST - they will become the first Brentford players to be in the squad of a country involved in the Semi-Final of a major international tournament. Czech Republic beat The Netherlands to reach this stage during a Second Round that saw England beat Germany in a knock-out game for the first time in 55 years, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winners France lose to Switzerland, Spain beat Croatia 5-3 and holders Portugal beaten by Belgium.
If Denmark progress, they will come to London for the Semi-Finals and Final, all played at Wembley in the next nine days. They will face the winner of the England v Ukraine Quarter-Final, also being played on Saturday. We will keep you up to date with all Brentford involvement in the event.