Denamark's Euro 1992 triumph is fondly remembered as one the most amazing underdog stories of all time, a true iconic moments from the Euros
Their unexpected participation emerged after Yugoslavia was denied entry to the competition due to its military conflict.
The Danes had lost out on qualifying after finishing second to Yugoslavia, but they were now tossed into the eight-team event and grouped in a section with hosts Sweden and tournament front-runners France and England.
THE START OF SOMETHING SPECIAL
Kim Vilfort was one of Denmark’s unexpected stars during their time at the Euros, he believed that the Danes were better equipped than most had expected.
“There were those who didn’t believe we would be included, but we were aware of small talk that this could be the situation,” said Kim Villfort.
“Then we got the news. There was no discussion. Denmark had to participate in the tournament. It wasn’t possible to say ‘no’ because it would not have helped the relationship between UEFA and the Danish Football Association”.
This is the true story of Denmark's national football team, who beat the odds to win European Championship 1992. "Summer of '92", the feel-good and uplifting sports drama from Denmark, is our #EoSOneFilmADay we can watch on Netflix: https://t.co/zNt1VO3piL pic.twitter.com/WrUlZnfvqL
— Europe on Screen (@EuropeonScreen) July 11, 2020
The Danes were successful, if not glamorous, and centered on a conservative playing style, with just Brian Laudrup providing some attacking prowess; however, they had Red Devil’s latest addition Peter Schmeichel in between the posts, as well as players like John Jensen, who would go on to become a crucial part of Arsenal’s squad after this competition. Nonetheless, expectations were modest and according to Vilfort: “We couldn’t fail because there were no expectations. If we lost 5-0 three times then that would not have mattered.”
However, the fairytale script went as follows: a 0-0 tie against The Three Lions, accompanied by a loss to Blagult. The Danish Dynamites still had a shot at progressing into the knockout phase. They were up against Les Bleus in their final match of the group stage.
Henrik Larsen and Lars Elstrup scored for Denmark and manager Richard Moller Nielsen’s team, which prevailed 2-1 to take them into the next round of Euro 1992.
2 powerhouses of Europe, France, and England were no longer in the competition, but next up for the Danes were reigning champions the Netherlands, who were overwhelming favorites to win.
However, Nielsen’s team fought bravely, and after the end of normal time, the score was 2-2, with Larsen netting twice for his team. After a goalless extra session, the winner was to be decided by spot-kicks.
ON THIS DAY 📆 1992 | Denmark won Euro 92, having not even qualified for the tournament. But when Yugoslavia got booted out… pic.twitter.com/HxJO2Mi7QD
— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) June 26, 2017
Peter Schmeichel stopped Marco Van Basten’s penalty and it looked like the Dutch might have to pack their bags and go home. Danish defender Kim Christofte scored the last penalty and booked Denmark a place in the final of 1992 Euros.
Vilfort called the game “one of the best matches for the national team” he’d ever seen. but acknowledged his squad had “a little luck in the final” versus Germany.
THE FINAL SHOWDOWN
The last challenge in front of the Danish Dynamites was Germany. The most ambitious Denmark fans would have also never thought that they would defeat reigning European champions in the semis and would be participating in the showdown with Germany.
West Germany was a formidable and very dominant team in the whole world. After being crowned champions of the world 2 years back they were once again playing in another final. And several players who had beaten Argentina in Italy two years back were still part of the newly formed German team.
With both teams having extra numbers in defense, Germany’s Jurgen Klinsmann was the only player looking to worry the Danish defenders and make something happen whilst the German five-man back-line easily outnumbered and neutralized the Danish attack.
Germany managed to control the early stages of the match, and Schmeichel was constantly engaged in the Danish net, making saves from German forwards however, Denmark had the matches’ biggest chance, which turned out to be very crucial. John Jensen the central midfielder scored only his second goal for his national team but it was one of the most beautiful goals he had scored.
Germany attempted to re-establish their authority in the match right away, but their infiltration of the Danish midfield was limited by their tight defensive line, whose rigidity created an insurmountable wall. Despite the Germans’ attempts, the Danish were content to remain in the center of the field and tried to break that Danish wall.
🇩🇰 #OTD in 1992 🏆
Goals from John Jensen (👇) and Kim Vilfort completed the fairy tale as Denmark lifted the EURO 1992 trophy!
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 26, 2020
As soon as the clock struck 79 minutes, Vilfort discovered himself near the penalty area, escaped two rivals, and hammered in Denmark’s Euro-winning goal completing the dream.
“We had a fantastic spirit. The team wanted to win and that’s a very good thing when you’re at the highest level. When we were under pressure against Germany, it was the spirit that helped us. said Vilfort
THE DREAM IS COMPLETE
Denmark won Euro 1992 and produced one of the greatest underdog stories of all times. Despite the excitement that accompanied that incredible triumph, there can be no question that the best team won the cup, as Richard Moller Nielsen’s team increased in trust with each match and finally showed their class when the won the trophy.
This time around Denmark might be able to emulate those majestic players that won Euro 1992.