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The remarkable story of Denmark’s European glory in 1992

This summer, it’s that time again: EURO 2024, the football extravaganza where European countries and top footballers compete against each other. Germany is hosting the tournament. Although England and France are among the favourites in terms of the quality of their squads, the host country also hopes to win the prize in front of their home crowd. In 1992, the tournament had a very special winner. This is the story of Denmark at the 1992 European Championship.

Peter Schmeicel

The 1992 European Championship, held in Sweden, is known as one of the most surprising tournaments in football history, with Denmark taking center stage. The Danes had originally not qualified for the tournament, but due to the war in Yugoslavia, the Slavic country was excluded from participation. As a result, Denmark, as the runners-up in their qualifying group, were given a last-minute spot in the tournament. What followed was an incredible fairytale that left the football world in awe.

Denmark’s fairytale

Denmark entered the tournament with low expectations and little preparation. In their first two matches, they even failed to score and their participation seemed likely to be short-lived. But in the third group match something seemed to click. Denmark defeated France 2-1 and managed to secure a place in the semifinals, where they faced reigning European champions: The Netherlands. After a thrilling match that ended 2-2, a penalty shootout was required to decide the winner. Denmark won the shootout, thanks to Peter Schmeichel, who saved a penalty from Marco van Basten. A save that resulted a spot in the final against the strong opponent Germany, the reigning World Champions. But, on June 26, 1992, the Danish fairytale became even more magical. Thanks to goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort, Denmark defeated Germany 2-0, becoming the most unlikely winners in European Championship history. The joy and disbelief were immense, among the players and worldwide football fans.

Laudrup brothers

The Danish players became legends in their own country. But the Danes also had a decent squad. With Peter Schmeichel, the legendary goalkeeper of Manchester United or Brian Laudrup, who had clubs like Bayern Munich, Fiorentina, and Glasgow Rangers on his resume. Notably absent was the greatest star of them all: Michael Laudrup. The former player, who played for clubs such as Ajax, FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Real Madrid, made himself unavailable due to a dispute with a former national coach earlier that year. But apparently, his compatriots didn’t need his genius for this feat.

All in all, Denmark’s story at the 1992 European Championship should be an inspiration to everyone. It shows that in football, anything is possible, even when the odds are against you.