Denmark's perfect UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying Group 7 run comes under its biggest threat in the Czech Republic on Wednesday but Katrine Veje and Lise Munk are both determined to take the next step to Sweden.
Having won their first four fixtures in the five-team group, Denmark know a good result in Prague would open the possibly that victory in the home return would seal top spot and automatic qualification for next summer's finals. Denmark have a formidable record at making it to the continental showpiece but missing out on the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup has made them more determined than ever.
"Of course it was bad we didn't get to Germany," winger Veje told UEFA.com. "I watched the games, there were so many fans and media, a lot of excitement. It was bad we didn't qualify. But now we want to be in the EURO in Sweden – but one match at a time."
Forward Munk, who will sit the game in Prague out with a knee injury, added: "We learned something from losing in World Cup qualifying. [Making the EURO finals] could be very good for Danish women's football, a good opportunity get some people to go to Sweden to see us."
Kenneth Heiner-Møller's side warmed up last month at the Algarve Cup, losing to World Cup finalists the United States and Japan but then beating Norway and Iceland. "Of course [the Czech Republic match] is a different game from Japan and the USA," Veje said. "We have to get the ball more and play our game because we are a better team than them and we have to win. We have won [all the group] games so we have taken a good step and now we have to beat the Czech Republic."
Veje, based in Sweden with FC Malmö, went to the UEFA Women's EURO 2009 finals in Finland as an 18-year-old, and looking back says: "I was really young, with the team just to learn and find out how to play in a big tournament.
The tournament in Sweden will be more mine because I'm not young any more and I have to step up."
The 22-year-old Munk, like Veje, is one of a crop of younger talents breaking through since the retirements of stalwarts including the inspirational Cathrine Paaske-Sørensen. "We have lost some great players, but we have young players even better coming up, they are getting younger and younger," Brøndby IF's Munk said, highlighting the performance of Pernille Harder, the 19-year-old who already has seven goals in qualifying.
"It has been a fantastic development for Pernille Harder, she started in the national team and went straight to the starting lineup," Munk added. "It is fantastic to see how well she is doing, she is going to be one of our strongest players. With a young team we have a lot of years to build."
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