Gatecrashing Denmark down Germany in EURO 1992 final

Denmark 2-0 Germany
Goals from John Jensen and Kim Vilfort completed the fairy tale for the last-minute entrants.

EURO '92 final highlights: Denmark 2-0 Germany
EURO '92 final highlights: Denmark 2-0 Germany

Despite a strong start by Germany, goals in either half by John Jensen and Kim Vilfort, and a stoic display from goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, ensured Denmark pulled off one of the greatest surprises in international football by winning the 1992 UEFA European Championship.

Germany began as they meant to continue, dominating their opponents and forcing Schmeichel into early action, the Manchester United goalkeeper saving from Stefan Reuter and Guido Buchwald. Denmark had barely emerged from behind the barricades when they scored against the run of play.

EURO 1992: All you need to know


Vilfort won a tussle with Andreas Brehme and passed to Flemming Povlsen who cut the ball back for Jensen. The midfielder's aim had been decidedly awry against the Netherlands but here he made no mistake, smashing high into the net from the edge of the area, in spite of Stefan Effenberg's headlong efforts to block. It was only Jensen's second goal in 48 internationals.

Highlights: The best goals of EURO '92
Highlights: The best goals of EURO '92

Germany came straight back at the Danes, but Schmeichel denied Jürgen Klinsmann with a superb save at full stretch before denying Effenberg as Berti Vogts' side turned the screw. There was no let-up after the interval either as Kent Nielsen cleared off the line with Karl-Heinz Riedle poised to bury Klinsmann's cross. The Intern Milan striker might have scored himself but for yet another reaction save from Schmeichel, this time tipping his bullet header over.

UEFA President, Lennart Johansson presents the trophy to Denmark captain Lars Olsen
UEFA President, Lennart Johansson presents the trophy to Denmark captain Lars OlsenBob Thomas Sports Photography vi

It seemed only a matter of time before a goal, and it duly arrived – for Denmark. Vilfort, who had screwed Richard Møller Nielsen's side's only other chance of the half wide, bringing the ball under control before turning inside to shoot low in off Bodo Illgner's left post to settle the contest.

It was a touching end to the fairy tale, Vilfort having twice left the Danish camp – and missed a group match – to visit his ailing seven-year-old daughter who was suffering from leukaemia.

Reaction

EURO '92 highlights: Spotlight on Peter Schmeichel
EURO '92 highlights: Spotlight on Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel, Denmark goalkeeper: "I think, beyond anything, it really sank in when we were in Copenhagen in the town hall for the celebrations with the rest of Denmark. That was unbelievable, truly unbelievable. At this point you're thinking: 'Christ, we actually did this, it's not a dream.' I don't think we'd had many big results in the times before 1992. We'd had the odd one, but there wasn't a mentality in sport that you could actually go out and say 'we want to win this, this is our target' because people would look at you."

Richard Møller Nielsen, Denmark coach: "I was supposed to fit a new kitchen [in my house] but then we were called away to play in Sweden. The kitchen is finished now. I got a professional decorator to do it."

EURO 1992: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

Referee Bruno Galler leads the teams on to the pitch
Referee Bruno Galler leads the teams on to the pitchIcon Sport via Getty Images

Denmark: Schmeichel; Christofte, Kent Nielsen, Piechnik, Lars Olsen (c), Sivebæk (Christiansen 66); Vilfort, Larsen, Jensen; Povlsen, Laudrup
Substitutes
: Mølby, Elstrup, Frank, Krogh, Peter Nielsen, Bruun
Coach: Richard Møller Nielsen

Germany: Illgner; Brehme (c), Helmer, Buchwald, Kohler, Reuter; Effenberg (Thom 80), Hässler, Sammer (Doll 46); Klinsmann, Riedle
Substitutes
: Binz, Möller, Köpke, Frontzeck, Schulz, Wörns
Coach
: Berti Vogts

Referee: Bruno Galler (Switzerland)