Denmark had not got past a major tournament group stage for 12 years when their name was picked out ahead of Russia in the drawing of lots to decide the eighth UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-finalist – and forward Katrine Veje is determined to make the most of their second chance.
When Denmark conceded a late equaliser against Finland last Tuesday, it left them third in Group A on two points. With only the two best third-placed teams from the three sections going through, Denmark's nerves began to rattle when Iceland took third spot in Group B with four points the following day. For Kenneth Heiner-Møller's side, painful memories returned of 2009, when Denmark ended the third best third-placed team after two days' waiting.
Had either England or Russia won their last Group C game on Thursday, Denmark would have been out once again. Instead, England lost and Russia drew, leaving the latter third on two points as well. That took Russia into the drawing of lots, but it was Denmark who were picked out to earn a last-eight tie with France on Monday in Linkoping.
"It was a little bit scary," Veje told UEFA.com. "Everyone was sitting and thinking: 'What's going to happen?' But when we heard we were going to play again it was 'Yeeeeah!' and everyone screamed and shouted. It was a really good feeling."
Having filled their days with "golf and stuff like that", Denmark were now on the move to Linkoping. "Now we are in a new city, a new hotel – it feels much better now," Veje said.
They even have some local support as both Mariann Gajhede Knudsen and Pernille Harder play their football in this very stadium for Linköpings FC. "The whole squad are coming to support us, wearing Denmark shirts," Veje said. "There will be plenty of people to support us."
The stadium indeed could be a 7,500 sell-out, but Veje is used to that having played in front of twice as many in the opening game, when Denmark held hosts Sweden 1-1. "In Gothenburg it was fantastic," Veje said. "It was the sort of game you want to play in. Just walking inside was 'Woah, This is really going to happen.' I hope the same thing will happen tomorrow."
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