Denmark’s Damsgaard goes from World Cup joy to penalty pain


Mikkel Damsgaard went to Brentford’s game in the English League Cup on Tuesday on a high after being called up to play in the World Cup for the first time.

The Danish playmaker was brought back down to earth.

Damsgaard, 22, hit what proved to be a decisive penalty against the crossbar as Brentford lost 6-5 to fourth-placed Gillingham in a third-round penalty shoot-out.

It was the only major upset on a night when Leicester continued their upswing in form to go ahead with Bournemouth, who dispatched Everton 4-1 in a Premier League tie.

Damsgaard, who impressed for Denmark at last year’s European Championship in place of Christian Eriksen following a cardiac arrest, received his call-up for the World Cup in Qatar on Monday night.

A day later, he showed his talents with a neat touch and pass to Ivan Toney to open the scoring in the third minute for Brentford, who went on to dominate the game but failed to put their chances away.

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Gillingham, who – in third to last place in League Two – scored 77 places below Brentford in the English football pyramid, with their only attempt at a goal in the game through Mikael Mandron in the 75th to take to penalties.

After converting the first 11 tries, Damsgaard missed and Gillingham reached the last 16 for only the second time in its history.

Toney sent a message to the England coach, Gareth Southgate — and perhaps some of his own detractors as well — with his ninth goal of the season, which he celebrated by sticking a finger in each of his ears.

The striker took to social media over the weekend to say he was helping the FA with an investigation. That came after a report in British newspaper The Sun said he was the subject of an investigation into allegations of match-fixing relating to a period before he joined Brentford.

Brentford acknowledged it was aware of the story but would not comment further.

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In his Twitter post, Toney described himself as a “proud Englishman” who dreamed as a child of playing for his country in the World Cup. He is among a host of strikers looking to make Southgate’s 26-man squad – to be announced on Thursday – to back up captain Harry Kane, and his cup goal was a final boost for the England coach.

Toney was called up by England for the first time before the League of Nations games against Italy and Germany in September but did not play a minute in either game.

It appeared that James Justin had moved into a position to be an injury cover for the two full-back positions in England’s World Cup squad.

Justin was carried off the field in the second half of Leicester’s 3-0 win over Newport County following an innocuous challenge. The World Cup starts in 12 days.

Justin had scored the opener against Newport, the fourth-tier side who beat Leicester in the FA Cup in 2019 to help end Claude Puel’s reign and usher in Brendan Rodgers’ continued tenure at the club.

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Jamie Vardy, a sort of forgotten man in Leicester, added the other two goals.

Everton’s form has dipped as English club football heads into a six-week World Cup break.

With the heavy defeat at Bournemouth, Everton have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions to put some pressure on manager Frank Lampard, whose side are fifth to last in the Premier League. Alliance.

Lampard shut down a virtual reserve team and paid the price as Jamal Lowe’s strike and Junior Stanislas’ close-range deflection gave Bournemouth a 2-0 lead.

Demarai Gray reduced the deficit before late goals from Emiliano Marcondes and Jaidon Anthony for the hosts.

The third round continues on Wednesday, when Liverpool begin their title defense with a home game against third-tier Derbyshire and Manchester City host Chelsea in the marquee match of the round.

AP World Cup coverage: and


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