Denmark could hardly have picked a more dramatic way to end their eight-year wait to qualify for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals. In added time in their elite round decider against hosts Greece the score was 0-0 and the Republic of Ireland were set to top the group but then Yussuf Poulsen headed in and Denmark had qualified for Serbia.
Thomas Frank's side had also managed a late winner against Latvia three days before and they will hope for similar fortune from 3 May when they take on hosts Serbia in their opener before going on to meet holders England and France in Group A. Frank spoke to UEFA.com about how his talented team could signal a new crop of Danish talent.
UEFA.com: What do you think of your draw?
Thomas Frank: I think it's a very tough draw but we have a chance. I haven't seen Serbia. We played England in August and lost 2-0. France and England will be the two favourites to go to the semi-finals but we have a great team and we are very confident. We could be a dark horse for the semi-finals and even for the title.
UEFA.com: Are you looking forward to facing the hosts in the opening game?
Frank: We know that when you come here it will be a great experience, especially against Serbia the hosts, where they have been waiting for this for a year. We are looking forward to that so hopefully it is going to be a great match for our development.
UEFA.com: Denmark have not qualified for many years until now at U17 or U19 level; what has made the difference now?
Frank: Four or five years ago we made some changes in the federation and have done a very good job with some talent centres and in the clubs. We have raised the standard year by year and now we have a very strong year group with great potential. Hopefully there will be many great years coming up.
UEFA.com: Does your dramatic qualification show a great sprit in the team?
Frank: It was a very tough elite round. There are small margins whether you go to the finals or not but we scored in added time and in the matches before that three minutes from time. We are a winning team we have the spirit and want to fight to go for the semi-finals. The last match against Greece the hosts in the elite round is going to be very good experience to bring here to Serbia against Serbia. But we are confident and believe in ourselves.
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