Who would have thought the finalists of Euro 2017 would be in a playoff to get to another playoff to qualify for the 2019 Women’s World Cup?
Their own worst enemy
Barely a year ago, Denmark and the Netherlands were the best teams in Europe – but a lot has happened since that entertaining final, which the Dutch won 4-2.
The Danes chose to self-destruct at the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign last autumn when they forfeited their away tie in Sweden due to a players’ strike.
Some spectacular football followed, but by the time they hosted the old enemy, only a win would be enough to overhaul Sweden, and they lost the game 0-1.
The result was a tie against the Netherlands, a team they had lost their last six straight games too.
And a 2-0 loss in Breda last Friday meant the Danes had it all to do on Tuesday evening in Viborg.
Dreaming … for all of two minutes
Nevertheless, they got off to a dream start when Pernille Harder was bundled over in the penalty area.
Nadia Nadim coolly dispatched the penalty – game on!
But the optimism would only last 100-odd seconds, as the Dutch quickly fought back to equalise – an away goal that meant the Danes needed to score three to keep their World Cup dreams alive.
Denmark tried valiantly in the second half, but the chances just wouldn’t go in, and a Dutch second in injury compounded their misery.
While the red and whites are left to ponder what might had been, the Netherlands march on to play Switzerland for a place in the finals.
Eriken’s stomach injury isn’t chronic, laughs agent, but translation is
Christian Eriksen’s agent Martin Schoots has blamed a bad translation for the news that the Tottenham playmaker has a chronic stomach problem. Danish national coach Åge Hareide said the abdominal injury, which has forced Eriksen to miss Tottenham’s last four games, “can be chronic”. Schoots clarified that the injury is fatigue-related and that Eriksen should be back in action soon, but not for Denmark this week.
Wiggins has a young Dane in his rearview mirror and there’s nowt he can do
Mikkel Berg, 19, is getting closer to Bradley Wiggins’ world record for the furthest distance travelled in a mile. In his last attempt, he managed 53.73 km, within 800 metres of Wiggins’s 54.52 km record. Berg’s new Danish record is the second furthest distance ever recorded, and Wiggins will be fully aware that cyclists don’t tend to peak until their mid-20s. Berg is already a two-time under-23s UCI World Championships time trial champion.
Newcastle’s Danish youngster tipped for the top
Danish teenager Elias Sørensen, a Newcastle United youth team player, has been tipped for the top by Ben Dawson, the coach of the Newcastle under-21s side. Sørensen, 19, has started the season strongly, netting eight goals in all competitions. In related news, Fady Ibrahim has sealed a move from HB Koge to Cairo-based outfit Al Ahly – the second Danish-born Egyptian to emerge following Alexander Jakobsen, who has won caps with the Egyptian under-20s and full national side.
Vejle to host wheelchair rugby qualifier
Vejle will host the 2019 International Wheelchair Rugby Federation European Championship Division A from August 3-12. The teams of France, Germany, Britain, Poland and Sweden, along with two other qualifiers and Denmark, will take part. The top two will qualify for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.