I had a funny feeling while watching Denmark's final game at UEFA EURO 2012. I started off – as always – excited and passionate, but when both Portugal and Germany took the lead within a few minutes of each other, my mood changed to a calm kind of resignation. Did we (the Danes) ever really expect to make it through this group stage? In our dreams, yes. Realistically, no.
However, when you grab a win like the one we secured in our opener against the Netherlands, you start to dream. And though the dream scenario never quite worked out, we can leave Poland and Ukraine with pride knowing that we did our best – and did better than Netherlands.
I know this is the mindset of an underdog, but from my point of view I'm quite happy with the few barks we delivered during this tournament. Besides the 1-0 win against Netherlands, we came from behind to equalise against Portugal and Germany, probably because of the belief engendered by that opening game. Without that win, I'm not sure we could have made such a big impact in Group B.
For that very same reason, I'm certain that no other country will get such positive feedback from the press and public on leaving the tournament at the end of the group stage as Denmark. Only eight teams can make it through to the quarter-finals, and in these circumstances, most Danes expected that we were likely to be among the disappointed ones.
However, seeing the amazing Irish fans supporting their team in their 4-0 defeat against Spain, you recognise that for some teams, the big victory is just being at the finals. Denmark are in that category. And let us not forget the joy and excitement of qualifying, the build-up to the finals and the pleasure of being involved in perhaps the most exciting EURO of modern times.
So, when we all head back for Denmark, we can still look forward to watching the remaining games without any great regrets. It might only have been a walk-on part, but we played it brilliantly.
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