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Schmeichel recalls EURO glory

Published: Friday 29 June 2012, 15.50CET
A UEFA European Championship winner in 1992, former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel sits down with UEFA.com to answer users' tweets about his career and his triumphs.

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Published: Friday 29 June 2012, 15.50CET

Schmeichel recalls EURO glory

A UEFA European Championship winner in 1992, former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel sits down with UEFA.com to answer users' tweets about his career and his triumphs.

With Europe's highest honours to his name, including UEFA European Championship and UEFA Champions League winners' medals, former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel is more than qualified to take your tweets in the latest of UEFA.com's #Ask sessions. The Great Dane talks about his country's triumph in 1992, Andrea Pirlo's penalty, and today's current crop of goalkeepers.     

@James_Isherwood: What inspired Denmark to win EURO 92?

Peter Schmeichel: As a starting point we were a good team and, we knew we could play. So once we got the opportunity [following the disqualification of Yugoslavia] we knew it was not just us we were playing for, we were playing for the people of Yugoslavia as well. We knew we were a good team, we had a lot of inspiration from that, and we did not want to embarrass ourselves which was also an inspiration.

@refokarlo26: What do you think about Denmark's performance at EURO 2012?

Schmeichel: We did well. I actually think we did better than anyone expected us to do. We were in a tough group. Germany and Portugal got to the semis and Holland were eliminated at the same time as us. So I do not think in anyway that we embarrassed ourselves. You will not meet any disappointed Danes. There were some players that broke through, like Tobias Mikkelsen, and some of the old heads also played well.

@Lucozade_Footy: If you could play one match again, which would it be?

Schmeichel: 18 November, yes I know the date, 1993. Spain against Denmark. We needed a draw to qualify for the World Cup. We were 11 men against ten for 89 minutes but could not score and they scored a goal and won the game. The goal was a free-kick and the reason I remember the date so well is that it was my 30th birthday. So I would like to play that again if I had the chance.

@SaifulHamdi: As a goalkeeper, what did you think of Pirlo's penalty?

Schmeichel: He is a world-class player, only a world-class player does that, but it is risky. I remember being at Old Trafford for the Champions League final between AC Milan and Juventus and [Andriy] Shevchenko did the same but he missed. So it looks good when it comes off but it looks very, very silly if you miss it. I have seen Pirlo's explanation and it makes perfect sense. Joe Hart was trying to get to the corners, and if you pick the wrong side, you might miss it so down the middle is sometimes the safest place.

@Bookof_Matthew: How did you prepare yourself for a match on the day of a game?

Schmeichel: I always had the same routine, always did the same thing. I always watched the same TV programmes on Friday night. You always stick to the same routine, but I would not call them rituals. When I was younger I had a million rituals, I had to do them, and I was really scared if I missed one. Then I had the perfect situation to get rid of all of them; we were five games from the end of the season, and needed to win one more game. We had not lost a single game all season, and were playing a game against the team that would be relegated, at home. So I decided not to do anything of what I was used to doing. I did everything the opposite way, and got rid of all of it. We won the game. We became champions that day.

@SebSegarra: What is the best team (club or country) you have ever played against? And who was the best striker you faced?

Schmeichel: We played France in 1998, in France at the World Cup. We lost 2-1, I'm just thinking that team was really good. They went on to become world champions and then again won the EURO two years later. Fortunately I have played against the best forwards in the world. I cannot pick anyone, I just cannot. I have played against so many great strikers, and all were a big challenge.

@Mohamed_0sama: Who is the defender you felt most safe and comfortable playing with?

Schmeichel: Great question, by the way. I only played with Jaap Stam for one year, but he was awesome. That year we won the treble as well. I have to say my breakthrough at club level was behind Brucey [Steve Bruce] and Pallister [Gary Pallister]. Myself, Brucey and Pallister is something that people remember, but on balance, Jaap Stam that year was incredible.

@paolavallarino: Do you think that being a goalkeeper is more difficult nowadays due to the current scoring capacity of players as opposed to 14 years ago?

Schmeichel: No, I don't think so. When you look at the back-pass law it's the best rule change ever. It has changed the game. It has also given the goalkeepers a new challenge, and it means it is a different breed now. I do not think it has become more difficult; it has just become different. I think certain goalkeepers from my era would probably struggle with the way the game is today but it is like anything, you try to compare teams from ten or 20 years ago and it is impossible. There are more, high-quality goalkeepers now. Look at Poland, they had six goalkeepers to pick for their squad. Germany have six or seven. [David] de Gea who plays for Manchester United has not got a sniff at the Spain national team. So I think there are many more top-quality keepers than there were maybe 20 years ago.

@aklil_g: What is the best memory of your career?

Schmeichel: Well, it has got to be the day when I was told that Manchester United were looking at me. That was some day, and that was something to be told. You know, ever since I was a small kid I was dreaming about that moment, and, one day it was there.

Last updated: 26/10/12 15.51CET

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