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Denmark pip Finland to finals spot

Published: Wednesday 27 September 2006, 10.45CET
Denmark 1-0 Finland A record crowd of 9,337 was in attendance to witness Maiken Pape score the goal which sent Denmark to China at Finland's expense.
by Peter Bruun
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Published: Wednesday 27 September 2006, 10.45CET

Denmark pip Finland to finals spot

Denmark 1-0 Finland A record crowd of 9,337 was in attendance to witness Maiken Pape score the goal which sent Denmark to China at Finland's expense.

A record crowd of 9,337 was in attendance as Denmark defeated Finland 1-0 to pip their Scandinavian rivals to a berth in next September's FIFA Women's World Cup in China as Group 3 winners.

Victory needed
Having lost the corresponding fixture 2-1, nothing short of a victory would have been enough for Denmark to wrest top spot from the Finns. The home team dominated from the off and Cathrine Paaske Sørensen, Johanna Rasmussen, Anne Dot Eggers and Maiken Pape all threatened, though Finland were holding out well.

Handy Pape
Denmark, without leading goalscorer Merete Pedersen, intensified the pressure after the interval and early in the half the breakthrough came. Rasmussen sent in an accurate cross from the left for Pape to head into the top left-hand corner of the goal. Finland now needed to push, but it was Denmark's turn to look assured in defence and they held out to qualify for the first time since 1999.

Indescribable feeling
Pape said: "It was fantastic to score the deciding goal - it is simply impossible to describe how I felt. I saw Johanna run free on the left, and her cross was just perfect, and I thought: 'This is it!' We were simply the better team tonight, so I definitely think our win was deserved. Furthermore, the big crowd simply 'lifted' us tonight - I don't remember having played in front of so many people in Denmark before."

Coach's pride
Coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller added: "I am happy to have been able to finish the job my predecessor Peter Bonde started, by qualifying for the World Cup. Now we can finally start to plan ahead, as we are now going to make plans for our preparations for the World Cup."

Last updated: 28/09/06 11.50CET

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http://www.uefa.com/womensworldcup/matches/season=2007/round=2178/match=80977/postmatch/report/index.html#denmark+finland+finals+spot

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