There is still one match to be played before Denmark face the Netherlands on Saturday in UEFA EURO 2012 Group B. It is a very important, historical game going many years back: the traditional meeting of the Danish press and team backroom staff.
The press acquired the bragging rights two years ago when they won 1-0 over 80 minutes at the FIFA World Cup in the last encounter between the sides. The games have their upsides and downsides, as all parties will testify.
While the run-around fosters unity, helping to consolidate a healthy relationship with the national team and the press pack, the spin-off is a mass of sore legs, aches and pains – bear in mind that this might be the only game some people have played all year or, indeed, since the last major tournament. No pain, no gain.
However, bumps and bruises aside, the match is a great reminder for all of us of why football is such a fantastic game. People talk for hours about past meetings, all the while deciding what tactics to employ and which players to select. And the tales from former games are repeated again and again – hours of talking from just 80 minutes of action.
With me covering my first final tournament I realise it is not going to be easy to break into the team, so after a patchy performance from the press XI in the last training session I was given the role of reserve goalkeeper. This suits me well. After all, how many people can say they have stopped former Danish international and FC Schalke 04 striker Ebbe Sand from scoring?
The game will be played on Thursday at 16.00CET before the press and national team leave for Kharkiv with sore legs, smiles on faces and, most importantly, something to talk about during the long flight.
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