Hojlund opened the scoring as Denmark edged San Marino 2-1 in their Euro 2024 qualifier on Tuesday. However, the result was overshadowed by a controversy over San Marino’s targeting of Hojlund.
The Manchester United striker complained after the match that San Marino deliberately tried to injure him. Veteran San Marino defender Roberto Di Maio hit back on Instagram, calling Hojlund a “disappointment” and accusing him of regularly simulating fouls and making disrespectful gestures.
Di Maio said physical play had disappeared from modern football and claimed Hojlund wouldn’t have succeeded 15 years ago when “only real men played.” Fellow defender Alessandro Tosi dismissed Hojlund’s claims, though conceded the San Marino players were upset by his goal celebration where he “shushed” them.
Tosi said it was strange for a Premier League player to complain about physical play and that Hojlund should be used to tough challenges. Denmark defender Simon Kjaer supported Hojlund’s version, noting some tackles resembled the one that seriously injured Neymar in 2014.
Medical sources have said Hojlund requires careful management of a pre-existing back issue identified during his Manchester United transfer medical, which can be exacerbated by a high workload at a young age. The controversy added heat to Denmark’s narrow qualifier win over San Marino.