Knudsen Makes World Cup Debut But Denmark Exit on Penalties
Sunday, 1st Jul 2018 22:05
Blues defender Jonas Knudsen played the full 120 minutes for Denmark as they exited the World Cup on penalties to Croatia following a 1-1 draw in their round-of-16 tie in Nizhny Novgorod.
The 25-year-old, who was winning his fourth cap and making his first appearance at the tournament, became the 10th Town player to appear at a World Cup finals.
Knudsen made an immediate impact with one of his long throws leading to his side opening the scoring in the first minute via Martin Jorgensen. However, the Croats equalised in the fourth minute through Mario Mandzukic.
The former Esbjerg fB man was among Denmark’s more impressive performers with his long throws - which have only rarely been effective for the Blues - a threat throughout.
Croatia were the better side in the first half but the Danes were on top in the second and in extra-time for the most part.
Luka Modric saw a late penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel during the additional half hour but Croatia came out on top in the shoot-out, 3-2, with the Blues left-back not among those taking a kick.
Knudsen, who flew home in a private jet paid for by is team-mates during the tournament to meet his newborn daughter, will be given an additional few weeks off before joining up with the Blues squad, who start their week’s training at the Pinatar Arena Football Center, San Pedro del Pinatar, Murcia in Spain tomorrow.
Prior to Knudsen, nine players with Town had won caps at a World Cup finals. John Wark and Alan Brazil represented Scotland in 1982 when Mick Mills was England’s captain with Paul Mariner and Terry Butcher were also in Ron Greenwood’s side.
Bontcho Guentchev featured for Bulgaria in 1994, Matt Holland was in Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland team in 2002, Slovenian defender Amir Karic was still a Town player at the same tournament and most recently Tommy Smith played for New Zealand in 2010.
Blues keeper Bartosz Bialkowski became the second Town player to travel to a World Cup and not play a minute when his Poland side exited at the group stage this summer, George Burley having been part of the Scotland squad in 1982 without making it on to the pitch.
In 1958 John Elsworthy was named in the Wales squad for the finals in Sweden but the FAW couldn't afford to take a full party and the left-half remained behind in the UK.
Photo: Action Images
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