Denmark cruised to a 2-0 win over Bulgaria in this afternoon’s Group C qualifier in Braga.
The result sets Denmark them up for an intriguing final Group game against Sweden, while for Bulgaria, having conceded seven goals and scored none in their opening two matches, the tournament is over.
Bulgaria made just one change from the team that was thrashed 5-0 by Sweden, bringing in Ilian Sotyanov for Predrag Pazhin in the centre of defence.
For Sweden, Thomas Gravesen, who missed the opener through suspension, was included at the expense of Christian Poulsen, while Jesper Gronkjaer who returned to the squad after being granted compassionate leave for the first match, was on the bench.
On three minutes, Kirilov brought down Tomasson on the edge of the area, to earn the first yellow card of the match and give Denmark their first chance. Gravesen blasted the resulting free-kick into the wall.
A minute later, Rommedahl set up a good chance for Jorgensen who mishit his shot from 8 yards.
The early pressure came from Denmark with the lightning quick Rommedahl a threat on the flanks. Meanwhile, at the other end, Berbatov, the solitary striker for Bulgaria, looked like he would be in for a long, lonely afternoon.
Gronkjaer, who only arrived in Portugal on Tuesday, got an early taste of the action when he came on for the injured Rommedahl on 23 minutes.
The Chelsea man made an immediate impact, taking on Petkov and producing a dangerous cross, which Bulgaria cleared behind. From the corner, the ball fell to Gravesen who had a wonderful opportunity to put the Danes ahead, but he miscued from five yards out.
At this stage it was all Denmark, with the action confined to the Bulgarian half.
Gronkjaer had a good opportunity to open the scoring but his snap shot was well smothered at the near post by Zdravkov. Sand, had another chance when found by Niclas Jensen but his header went wide.
Perhaps the best chance came when Gravesen picked out Tomasson who went round the keeper but could only find the side netting.
Bulgaria’s first chance came from a mistake on 41 minutes. Sorensen dropped a cross but Hristov’s header was weak and Denmark cleared their lines.
Plamen Markov’s team carved out a wonderful opening on 42 minutes when Martin Petrov waltzed through the Danish defence, played a one-two with Berbatov but shot tamely with only the keeper to beat.
The miss acted as a wake-up call for the Danes and within two minutes they went ahead.
Gravesen, probably Denmark’s most influential player of the half, played a first-time ball to Jorgensen who drew the keeper before setting up Tomasson to roll the ball into the empty net.
Bulgaria introduced Yankovoich as a second striker alongside Berbatov early in the second half and the new man came close on 55 minutes with a long-range effort.
However, for all their efforts, Bulgaria looked a side lacking in ideas, and even with a second forward on the pitch, attacked more in hope than expectation.
Denmark lacked the fluency of their first half performance and seemed content to hold onto their one goal lead.
Bulgaria’s inability to take the game to their opponents combined with the fact that Denmark were happy to sit on the lead, made for an ugly spectacle.
As their hopes of getting back into the game began to evaporate, Bulgaria started to lose their discipline. Gravesen in particular was singled out for some harsh treatmant. Matters reached a head when the referee waved away pleas for a Bulgarian penalty. Angered at the decision, Stilian Petrov, who had been booked earlier, chased after the referee and was shown a second yellow card for dissent.
Denmark wrapped things up on the stroke of full-time when Gronkjaer cut inside from the left, played a one-two with Tomasson and fired the return past Zdravkov.
Morten Olsen’s team still had time to add a third but Ebe Sand saw his shot rebound off the bar.
Denmark 1-1 Bulgaria
– Denmark – Jon Dahl Tomasson 44, Jesper Gronkjaer 90+2
Red Card: – Stilian Petrov 83 (Bulgaria)
Denmark: 1-Thomas Sorensen; 6-Thomas Helveg, 4-Martin Laursen, 3-Rene Henriksen, 5-Niclas Jensen; 7-Thomas Gravesen, 9-Jon Dahl Tomasson, 15-Daniel Jensen; 10-Martin Joergensen (14-Claus Jensen 72), 11-Ebbe Sand, 19-Dennis Rommedahl (8-Jesper Gronkjaer 23).
Bulgaria: 1-Zdravko Zdravkov; 2-Vladimir Ivanov (11-Zdravko Lazarov 51), 3-Rosen Kirilov, 22-Ilian Stoyanov, 4-Ivailo Petkov (5-Zlatomir Zagorcic 40); 13-Georgi Peev, 19-Stilian Petrov, 15-Marian Hristov, 17-Martin Petrov, 21-Zoran Jankovic (8-Milen Petkov 81); 9-Dimitar Berbatov
Referee: Lucillo Batista (Portugal)