England slipped to third place in group A2, which is now headed by Belgium with Denmark above England on goal difference.
“Disappointed to lose the match but extremely proud of how we responded to going down to 10 men,” said England manager Gareth Southgate, who rather surprisingly opted not to send on Aston Villa’s creative midfielder Jack Grealish when chasing the game.
“We had a few chances that on another day would have gone in. The 10 men changes the game and they get a soft penalty.”
While it was a memorable night for Danish playmaker Eriksen, it was a disappointing one for England who suffered only their second home defeat in 32 competitive internationals.
There were some positives, however, notably an encouraging full debut for Chelsea right back James who was arguably England’s most effective attacking option, only to blot his copybook as tempers flared at fulltime.
Denmark, playing with the same side that beat Iceland at the weekend, started brightly with Kasper Dolberg having a couple of half chances and Eriksen pulling the strings but England had begun to dominate when everything changed after 32 minutes.
Maguire, who had been booked for a rash foul on Yussuf Poulsen, took a poor touch near the halfway line and his attempted recovery tackle, while taking the ball, also caught Dolberg to earn the Manchester United man a second yellow.
Three minutes later, with England still re-organising, a long ball into their area caused hesitation in the home defence between Kyle Walker and Pickford and when Thomas Delaney went down the referee pointed to the spot.
It was a harsh decision but with no VAR to save England, Eriksen thumped his penalty past Pickford.
England enjoyed plenty of possession after the break without looking overly dangerous although Denmark needed an incredible save by Kasper Schmeichel to preserve their lead.
When Declan Rice headed the ball into the area and Mason Mount connected with his head from close range, a goal looked certain but somehow Schmeichel clawed it away.
England huffed and puffed late on and Harry Kane’s goalbound header was cleared off the line as Denmark hung on.
Elsewhere, Italy slipped to second in their Nations League group after they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Netherlands in a game that paid tribute to Bergamo’s many victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek canceled out Lorenzo Pellegrini’s opener in the first half.
Poland moved top of group 1 in league A after beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-0. They have a point more than Italy and two more than the Netherlands.
Italy host Poland on November 15 and play Bosnia in their final group match three days later.
“No problem, we’ll win both the matches and we’ll qualify for the final phase,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said.
France stretched their unbeaten run against Croatia to eight games after a late goal by Kylian Mbappe gave the world champions a 2-1 win in their top-tier group 3 match.
The result left France second in the group on 10 points from four games, behind Portugal on goal difference after the European champions brushed aside Sweden 3-0. Croatia have three points and the Swedes none.
“We knew we’d be in a real battle,” France coach Didier Deschamps told French TF1 television.
“We started very well and it’s a pity we didn’t go two goals clear as Kylian had a big chance. We did what we needed to do in the second half.
“It’s not because we won a trophy in 2018 that you win by clicking your fingers. You have to look at the way the opponents play too.”
Scotland closed in on promotion to the top tier after winning their top-of-the-table clash with the Czech Republic as the races in the other three League B groups remained extremely tight.
An early Ryan Fraser goal was enough to edge the Scots past their nearest rivals and open up a four-point lead at the top of group 2, with a single point still separating the top sides in groups 3 and 4, and Austria and Norway neck and neck in group 1.