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Evans says Denmark defeat 'hard to take' after late disappointment
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Ian Parker
Press Association
Jonny Evans said Northern Ireland’s defeat in Denmark was “hard to take” (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Jonny Evans said Northern Ireland’s defeat in Denmark was “hard to take” (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Jonny Evans said Northern Ireland’s 1-0 Euro 2024 qualifying defeat to Denmark was “hard to take” after he was adjudged to be offside when setting up Callum Marshall for what had appeared to be a stoppage-time equaliser.

The 1,700 travelling fans inside the Parken Stadium erupted when teenage debutant Marshall neatly directed Evans’ header inside the post following Jordan Thompson’s free-kick.

But when referee Daniel Stefanski signalled there would be a VAR check, a seemingly interminable five-minute wait followed as Tomasz Kwiatkowski took an age to review the footage before eventually ruling that Evans had been offside by the tightest of margins when Thompson struck the free-kick.

“I kind of felt I was coming back from an offside position but it wasn’t until we were back in our own half that I even considered it might be a thing,” Evans said.

“When they were checking for that long I thought they were going to something to try and disallow it. Those were the emotions going through my mind.

“I’ve been involved before where decisions take a long time but that’s definitely the longest. The longer it was going on I kind of felt it was like a dream really. It was strange. The referee tried to explain afterwards that they checked every single possible scenario.

“I don’t get many assists and I was gutted and I was obviously gutted for Callum. For him to be able to experience that feeling of scoring was great and I hope that stays with him and he can take motivation from it.”

The trip to Copenhagen represented the toughest fixture on paper for Northern Ireland in Group H, and they acquitted themselves well, defending doggedly for long periods and soaking up pressure from the hosts.

But a mistake from Ciaron Brown – about the only foot the Oxford defender put wrong – was punished by Jonas Wind at the start of the second half and that proved the difference in the match.

“It is hard to take,” Evans said. “Denmark are obviously buzzing. Had it gone our way we would have been the same. You can run all that through.

“In the last five or 10 minutes we tired but I thought we did well. We were brought on fresh legs to try and get something out of the game and we nearly did. When we got the free-kick I thought this is our chance…

“I thought we did what we had to do. We came in at half-time pretty pleased. We knew the first 10 minutes of the second half would be important and it was disappointing to concede a goal.

“I looked up at the clock and saw 47 minutes. We really needed to ride that out but they came out strong and quick and once they got their goal it wasn’t really until they changed their shape that we had a chance to get back in it.”


Jonny EvansNorthern Ireland
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