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Denmark win on return, England hit back

Denmark showed their futsal ambitions by marking their return to the international game with a 5-1 win in England but the next day the home team responded with a 3-0 victory.

Denmark's Andreas Birkedal (left) takes on England goalscorer David Jennings on Saturday
Denmark's Andreas Birkedal (left) takes on England goalscorer David Jennings on Saturday ©The FA via Getty Images

Denmark are aiming for instant success after making their international futsal return with a 5-1 victory in England on Friday but the following day their ambitious hosts took revenge by winning 3-0 and have progress in UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 qualifying in their sights.

Having competed in the inaugural 1989 FIFA Futsal World Cup, Denmark did not continue in the sport. Yet a club championship began in 2008, and they now have a national team again. Eighteen minutes into their first game together at London's SportHouse, Kevin Jørgensen struck the opening goal, going on to complete a hat-trick. The next day, though, England hit back and having taken a half-time lead through Will Rooke, underlined their dominance in the second period thanks to Ben Mortlock and, with a long clearance that bounced in off the crossbar, David Jennings.

Aroldo Stack, Denmark's Brazilian coach, is preparing his side for a competitive bow in the European preliminary round in October, and told UEFA.com: "It was two good experiences for us; we had good and bad moments. [On Friday] we played really well and [on Saturday] we were maybe tired and thought the game would be easier than it was. We take with us the experience of the second game, to learn. But the two together were an amazing experience as our first official games."

England, who themselves have less than a decade's futsal experience, were relieved by the second win, their third in four friendlies. Mortlock said: "The main difference was today we did a job on them whereas yesterday they did a job on us. The first goal was massive and after that we had a game plan today, we took it back to basics, playing the easy ball, moving well and they couldn't cope with it in the end. It was a good all-round futsal performance."

Coach Peter Sturgess, keen to lead England through the preliminary round to the new home-and-away main round qualifying competition, added: "In the time that I've been involved in the squad, coming up to four years, when there's been a poor performance or one that I'm not happy with, the ability to bounce back, we've nearly always been able to do that."

Denmark, meanwhile, will look to the example of Norway, who won their first match 2-1 in the Republic of Ireland in March 2010 and ten months later got past the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 preliminary round. Stack, whose team only had six training sessions and one unofficial game against Germany prior to visiting England, said: "That's what we're working for, and we hope to go to a tournament in Malta in September before the qualifiers. The first aim is to build a team that is strong, but we always come for results, from that start – that's the mentality, we don't want to wait."

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