In 1999 Thomas Sørensen made his international debut as a 19th-minute substitute for an injured Peter Schmeichel in a qualifier against Israel; on Wednesday he will emulate the former Manchester United No1 to become only the second Denmark goalkeeper to win 100 caps.
Sørensen will be the eighth Denmark player to reach a century in a friendly against Russia in Copenhagen, having been first choice since Schmeichel's international retirement in 2001. "I'm so proud," the Stoke City FC goalkeeper told UEFA.com.
There's nothing greater than representing your country. I never would have guessed that I would make 100 appearances. When I took over from Peter Schmeichel I knew I had to do it my way. And I did. I couldn't be a copy of Peter, and I knew that."
Going to his fifth major tournament this summer – and fourth as first choice – Sørensen will turn 36 three days after the UEFA EURO 2012 opener against the Netherlands on 9 June. "We have played very well for a while and beat some great nations in the qualification for EURO 2012," Sørensen said. "The competition in Europe is even harder than 12 years ago at my first finals, but hopefully this can be our advantage as one of the smaller teams."
Defender Andreas Bjelland, 23, is very happy to have a presence like Sørensen behind him. "
Sørensen has the experience and coolness that a player like me, who has only played four international matches, lacks," Bjelland said. "His contribution on and off the pitch is of great importance to us. The person that he is means he is always ready to help the younger players."
A fellow member of the 100-cap club, Denmark coach Morten Olsen is another keen admirer of Sørensen. "Consistency – that's the one word that comes in mind," Olsen said. "You don't even have to rate a player who has played 100 matches for his national team. That number speaks for itself.
He has only made a few mistakes for us over the years, and has sometimes been our saviour. I hope that people will remember that last thing, when they look back at his career."
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