For some players, whispers of a 'must-win' game are enough to induce palpitations. Denmark defender Christina Ørntoft is not about to be caught up in the euphoria of Tuesday's highly-strung encounter with Group A rivals Finland, however.
Instead, the Brøndby IF centre-back, who has endured an injury-strewn career, which included ligament damage that ruled her out of UEFA Women's EURO 2009, is empowered by positive thinking. "I have been looking forward to all the games in Sweden because it's so cool to compete at a championship such as this," she said, bubbling with enthusiasm. "I'm excited to be playing in a match that has so much riding on it. It's going to be fun out there."
Self-confidence within the Danish squad was swelled by Stina Petersen's penalty heroics in their 1-1 draw with hosts Sweden on matchday one. They subsequently started Saturday's encounter with Italy bristling with intent, until their momentum was punctured ten minutes after the interval. Denmark's woe from an eventual 2-1 reverse in Halmstad was acute but coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller has impressively galvanised his squad.
"As a team, we have done really well, against Sweden, and then against Italy," Ørntoft told UEFA.com. "I thought we started the game brightly but stalled in the second half. Perhaps the result did not reflect the performance. Immediately after coming off the pitch, we were really disappointed with the way we had played, but on reflection and having watched the tapes back, we became frustrated by the fact we hadn't scored."
Denmark must hold their nerve to beat Finland and hope for a positive result in Group A's other fixture between Italy and Sweden to clinch a top-two berth, while victory would at least ensure them a place in the third-place draw.
"I'm expecting a tight, nervy opening to the game, with both teams giving very little away. However, as the game goes on, it will open up, especially if one of us is still in with a chance. I'm sure everyone will be giving everything at the end," said Ørntoft, who vowed her side would not betray the 'Danish way'; an insatiable desire to retain possession and attack with purpose. "I expect us to keep the ball and attack tomorrow, because otherwise we would not be playing the way we are used to."
With Heiner-Møller’s stirring words at the pre-match media gathering in Gothenburg still ringing loud, Ørntoft can count on two valuable sources of inspiration. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow's game and to all the support we are going to have. I have all my family and friends here. They often watch me when I'm playing for the national team at home. However, it's different, extra special to have your family with you in this situation, to witness this huge experience."
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