Sports News in Brief: Danes a smash hit with UK footy fans

Elsewhere, Denmark is gearing up for the Winter Olympics and Andreas Christensen is staying a true blue

Aside from Jan Mølby and Daniel Agger, there’s a very good chance that Lasse Abildgaard was the most popular Dane at Anfield this week.

Abildgaard turned up in Liverpool with his dad to watch his heroes beat city rivals Everton in the FA Cup this week, but it was what he did before the game that earned him Kop plaudits.

Leading up to the game, the Dane had collected money for the local Fans Supporting Foodbanks initiative run by Liverpool and Everton fans, which collects supplies for food banks in the city.

Abildgaard was an admirer of their work and wanted to pitch in by raising funds among his fellow Liverpool fans in Denmark. But he wasn’t banking on getting such an overwhelming response.

“He thought he would get 50 quid, but after a few hours he had £500 in donations from Copenhagen reds and contacted us in a blind panic. How was he going to get all the donations to us with just him and his old fella?,” wrote Fans Supporting Foodbanks.

Zanka’s pledge
While Abildgaard has pledged to arrange a national collection this year for the cause, he wasn’t the only one to get inspired by the holiday spirit.

Aside from his strong performances for surprise package Huddersfield Town side this season, Danish footballer Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jørgensen has found another way to endear himself to the fans.

The defender announced just before Christmas that he would buy a pint of beer for every Terrier fan travelling to their away match at Southampton on December 23. The thousands of fans making the long trip south were rewarded with a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s and a beer on Zanka.

Primed for Pyeongchang: 30 days to go
With the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea commencing in a month’s time, the Danish team is primed with their second-largest squad for a Winter Games. So far, the Danish team comprises of 15 athletes spread among the men’s and women’s curling teams (10), speedskating (3), alpine skiing (1) and cross country skiing (1). It has also been revealed that Denmark’s biggest medal hope, the speedskater Elena Møller Rigas, will be Denmark’s flag carrier for the opening ceremony. Denmark has only ever won one medal at the Winter Games – a silver medal in women’s curling at the 1998 edition in Nagano.

Christensen stays true Blue
It’s been a solid week for Danish footballer Andreas Christensen. Aside from inking a new contract that will see him remain at Chelsea until at least 2022, the defender was also estimated by the CIES Football Observatory as being the 100th most valuable footballer in the world with a transfer value of 50.2 million euros. Check out Chelsea’s new awe-inspiring video about the 21-year-old below. Countryman Christian Eriksen was ranked 29th with a value of 98.4 million euros, while the list (here in English) was topped by Brazilian star Neymar, who is worth a whopping 213 million euros. Lionel Messi (202.2) and Harry Kane (194.7) came in second and third.

Danish elite sports in downturn
2016 was a mesmerising year for Danish sports, which culminated with a sterling medal haul at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This year, however, has failed to live up to that glory. A new report from Idan showed the number of top-8 placements in Summer Games disciplines fell by 25 percent in 2017 compared to the year before. In fact, it was the worst showing by the Danish elite sports since 2010.

Kenneth heading the Canucks
Kenneth Heiner-Møller has been unveiled as the new coach of the Canadian women’s football team. Møller has been an assistant with the Canadians since 2016, when the country won bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Before that he led the Danish women’s team to a bronze medal at the 2013 Euros.