Soccer

Eriksen hat trick sparks Denmark in rout of Bulgaria

Kyodo

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen scored a second-half hat trick as Denmark thrashed Bulgaria 4-0 to take third place at the four-nation Kirin Cup on Tuesday.

Morten Rasmussen opened the scoring late in the first half and Eriksen struck in the 72nd and 74th minutes before completing his hat trick eight minutes from time in pouring rain at Suita Stadium.

Denmark, which lost its opening match 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday in Toyota, was the more industrious of the two sides in a largely drab first half.

Viktor Fischer drilled wide on 28 minutes before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s low drive brought a smart save out of Bulgaria goalkeeper Bojidar Mitrev.

Aage Hareide’s side deservedly broke the deadlock six minutes before the interval, William Kvist feeding Fischer to square for Rasmussen to fire into the roof of the net.

Denmark continued to force the pace in the second period and Eriksen went close to doubling its advantage right before the hour mark with a shot just wide of the left-hand post. But he got it right at the second time of asking, sweeping into the right-hand corner with Mitrev rooted to the spot.

Eriksen made space for himself to double his tally with a shot through the legs of Bulgaria defender Ivo Ivanoc from the edge of the box and then wrapped up victory with a straightforward finish before being applauded off the pitch by an appreciative Japanese crowd.

It was the second straight heavy defeat for Bulgaria, which was hammered 7-2 by Japan on Friday.