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Denmark stun Germany to complete EURO fairy tale

Published: Thursday 27 October 2011, 2.48CET
After beating the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals, Denmark had to overcome world champions Germany to complete the fairy tale – and they did precisely that.
Denmark stun Germany to complete EURO fairy tale
Denmark's John Jensen holds the trophy aloft after the 2-0 win against Germany at EURO '92 ©Bob Thomas/Getty Images
 
Published: Thursday 27 October 2011, 2.48CET

Denmark stun Germany to complete EURO fairy tale

After beating the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals, Denmark had to overcome world champions Germany to complete the fairy tale – and they did precisely that.

Denmark 2-0 Germany
Jensen 18, Vilfort 78
Final, Gothenburg, 26 June 1992

Despite a strong start by Germany, goals in either half from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort, supplemented by the stoic goalkeeping of Peter Schmeichel, ensured that Denmark pulled off one of the greatest surprises in international football by winning the 1992 UEFA European Championship.

Germany began as they meant to go on, dominating Richard Møller Nielsen's team and forcing Schmeichel into early action, the Manchester United FC goalkeeper saving from Stefan Reuter and Guido Buchwald. Denmark had barely emerged from behind the barricades when they scored against the run of play.

Vilfort won a tussle with Andreas Brehme and passed to Flemming Poulsen who cut the ball back for Jensen. The midfielder's aim had been decidedly awry against the Netherlands in the semi-finals but here he made no mistake – smashing high into the net from the edge of the area, in spite of Stefan Effenberg's headlong effort to block. It was only the second goal Jensen had scored in 48 internationals – and later in his career it would take him 98 matches to notch his first for Arsenal FC.

Germany came straight back at the Danes, yet Schmeichel denied Jürgen Klinsmann with a superb stop at full stretch before saving from Effenberg as Berti Vogts's side turned the screw. There was no let-up after the interval either as Kent Nielsen cleared off the line with Karl-Heinz Riedle poised to bury Klinsmann's cross. The FC Internazionale Milano striker might have scored himself but for still more heroics from Schmeichel, who this time tipped the bullet header over.

It seemed only a matter of time before a goal would come, and it duly did, only it fell to Denmark again. Vilfort, who had fired Denmark's only other second-half chance wide, appeared to bring the ball under control with his hand, before turning inside to shoot low in off Bodo Illgner's left post to settle the contest. It was a touching end to the fairy tale, Vilfort having twice left the Danish training camp – and missed a group game – to visit his ailing seven-year-old daughter who was suffering from leukaemia.

What happened next?
Denmark went on to lift the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1995 but have not come close to repeating the miracle of Gothenburg, their best subsequent showing being last-eight finishes at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2004. Germany, on the hand, have cemented their reputation as a formidable tournament team. They would win the next European Championship in England, become UEFA EURO 2008 and 2002 World Cup finalists, and reach the World Cup semi-finals in 2006 and 2010.

Last updated: 15/05/12 10.27CET

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