Denmark and Greece – a football success story (first part)!

The European Football Championship is one of the most popular competitions held since 1960. It was then held in France for the first time! On June 11, 2021, in twelve cities (ten European and two Asian), it will be held for the sixteenth time! Various scenes and unforgettable moments took place on it, which entered the annals of European and world sports. But, nothing can compare with the successes of the national teams of Denmark, in 1992 and Greece, in 2004!

In two separate texts, I will describe to you Denmark and Greece – a football success story!

Danish fairy tale!

Few people in this world have not heard of Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish fairy tale writer, who glorified his country with his works. But what happened at the ninth European Football Championship in Sweden, in 1992, could not have been conceived by Andersen himself! Denmark, a country that was not the favorite, won its first and so far only title, leaving behind many national teams that were declared the favorites of the competition!

Let’s go in order!

In 1992, Denmark did not qualify for the European Championship in the above-mentioned country, because in the qualifications, it finished in second place behind the national team of the former SFR Yugoslavia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). They had only two victories and with such a score they “could not” go further, according to the way of competition at that time! The national team of Denmark, played several friendly matches and were preparing to go on vacation with their families and watch the events at the championship on television.

Then comes the reversal!

In Yugoslavia, in 1991, the civil war started and FIFA and UEFA made a decision to disqualify the national team of Yugoslavia and instead, an invitation to fill the vacancy, to the selection of Denmark! The national team of Yugoslavia was declared one of the favorites to win the championship and after this decision, everyone was in shock! This is the first time something like this has happened and it has not happened again to this day! Denmark accepted the opportunity and went to neighboring Sweden, where she did not expect much!

But, life has much more imagination than ourselves!

Denmark was in Group A, in which the national teams of England, France and the host Sweden played. In the first game, it was shown how much the invitation they received surprised Dance, because they performed in jerseys for the selection up to the age of 21, which could be seen by the fact that they were tight. The beginning was difficult and in the first game with England, they played a draw 0: 0 – against the selection that was one of the favorites to win the championship! In the second game against the hosts Sweden, they lost 1: 0 and in the third game, they had to go all or nothing to get to the semifinals! In that match, against France, also a team that was one of the favorites for the first place, it was seen that the Danes were more motivated and unique as a team, unlike the French who behaved arrogantly, underestimating Dance, because they are named players, be a better team on paper! Denmark triumphed with 2: 1 and anxiously waited for the end of the match England – Sweden, in which they needed a draw or a victory for Sweden! And, it happened! Sweden beat England 2: 1 and together with Denmark, advanced to the semifinals of the competition!

When they talked in an interview after the competition about what was going through their heads at that moment, the Danish footballers realized that they could cope with all the teams in the championship if they continue to play collectively! Their motivation grew and they became more and more confident.

In the semifinals, Denmark met the Netherlands, the national team that was the main favorite to win the championship, because four years earlier, in 1988, in West Germany, they won the title. But Denmark had different plans. In the fifth minute of the game, Denmark took the lead with 1: 0 and shocked everyone again! The Netherlands soon equalized, but Denmark took the lead again. The Netherlands showed that they are a strong team and tied the score at 2: 2. With that result, they went into overtime in which the Netherlands completely dominated, and thanks to the best goalkeeper of the championship, Peter Schmeichel, Denmark managed to defend, which is why the winner had to decide after the penalty shootout. The Danes were physically exhausted and worried about whether they would perform well on penalties?

However, luck was on their side this time as well! In the second series, the penalty was shot by Marco van Basten, the best Dutch football player, but his shot, Schmeichel defended! The Danes continued to score penalties with 5: 4, they advanced to the grand final, where the German national team was waiting for them, which beat Sweden 3: 2!

Final match

Then everyone wondered if Denmark was able to take another step and beat the German national team, which was the second favorite to win the championship, because two years earlier, in 1990, at the World Cup in Italy, they became world champions!

Before Germany, the favorites were the English, but they were defeated! They were also French, but the same thing happened as with England. Against the Dutch, many thoughts it was the end of the Danish fairy tale, but it continued with another surprise! Now the whole of Europe and the World is waiting to see how this story will end!

And, she didn’t start well! From the very beginning of the match, the Germans started violently in the desire to unite the world and European title and thus justify the role of the favorite. But, in the 18th minute, the mistake of the German defense was used by the Danish football player John Jensen and scored a goal for Dance! The stadium was in a delirium! The player who scored only one goal in the previous 48 games for the Danish team, has now brought his national team to the lead and closer to triumph!

However, the Germans are a team that never gives up and they continued to forcefully press Dance in order to reverse the result! The Danes, physically exhausted, managed to endure until the 89th minute, when a new miracle happened! The Danish player, Kim Wilfort, scored the second goal for Dance in the 11th minute before the end of the game, thus letting everyone know that Denmark is the new European champion! It was a very emotional moment for Dance, especially for Kim Wilfort, who had to return to Denmark during the championship because his daughter was suffering from leukemia! But his daughter Line told him to return to Sweden and continue playing. A few days after the end of the championship, Line passed away!

Time passed and everyone was looking forward to the end of the game! When that happened, the stadium exploded with delight, because they are aware that they were attending a historic moment, which, until then, had not happened! The national team, which, due to circumstances, came to the championship as a complete outsider, showed that with courage, faith and motivation, goals can be achieved and the “impossible” achieved!

The success of the Danish national team is still talked about today and it is the topic of many documentaries and films!

Many thoughts that what the Danes had done would never happen again!

But twelve years later, a new miracle happened! (Continued in the following text)!


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