Michael Krohn-Dehli admits his winner against the Netherlands had an element of luck but is keen to prove that result was no fluke – not, as his girlfriend attests, that he is a dreamer.
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Michael Krohn-Dehli is not the romantic type according to his girlfriend, but his winner against the Netherlands on Saturday has got the whole of Denmark dreaming.
Twenty-four minutes of the Group B opener in Kharkiv had elapsed when the 29-year-old struck perhaps the most significant blow at UEFA EURO 2012 to date, though he admits it was as much down to luck as sound judgement. "I received the ball accidentally," he told UEFA.com. "I actually wanted to shoot straight away, but noticed a few players were close to me so I feigned a shot and then I was completely free to put the ball in. It was a great moment for me."
It was Krohn-Dehli's slick footwork that first caught the eye of his (coincidentally) Dutch girlfriend, Kelly, at a club in Amsterdam six years ago. She told Danish daily Ekstra Bladet it was love at first sight but she is still waiting, impatiently, for him to go down on one knee. "I have often tried to make subtle hints, but Michael is just not the romantic type," she said. "He doesn't believe our relationship would be better from getting married. I'd like to, though it isn't up to me to propose."
The midfielder obviously likes to keep his feet on the ground, seeing the world with realism, not idealism. So while many of the five and a half million people back in Denmark dream of a repeat of their 1992 triumph, Krohn-Dehli is more prosaic. "It's true that we are closer to making it out of the group than we were before the first game, but we are not there yet. And we played far from a perfect match; if we can add another 5-10% then I think we could do well."
Their opponents on Wednesday, Portugal, have been warned, though having met Denmark five times in the past six years they do not really need it. The Danes hold the upper hand, winning three to Portugal's one and coming out on top in qualifying for both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and this tournament. It is, says Krohn-Dehli, a real source of optimism. "It gives us a sense that victory is possible. We have also lost to them, of course, and they are a good team, but it gives us confidence that we are capable of getting a good result.
"We've had a good start to the finals and needn't fear anyone. While we need to respect every opponent, we have shown that they also need to respect us."