Denmark may have a habit of losing opening games against hosts, but a relaxed Johanna Rasmussen told UEFA.com that ahead of facing Sweden they are better prepared than ever.
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The recent history of the Danish women's national team has been promise before a final tournament but disappointment in it; as they prepare to open their latest campaign against hosts Sweden on Wednesday, though, Johanna Rasmussen says this time it will be different.
Denmark, with Rasmussen playing, have faced host nations in their last two major tournaments, losing 3-2 to China to begin the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup and 1-0 against Finland at UEFA Women's EURO 2009. Rasmussen, who scored in the 1-1 draw with Sweden that began Denmark's 2005 finals campaign in England, explains how they aim to end that hoodoo.
"We are really excited," the winger told UEFA.com. "Coming here is like the last little step – it is time to go out there and perform. We are really well prepared this time compared to some other tournaments, we are really, really excited.
"Ever since we qualified we have had a really good set-up. We got a little more resources from the association and a longer time together, which is really important for us. As our coach said [in the press conference], we don't have anything else to do [in their training session on Tuesday], we can just go out and have fun. We don't have any last-minute things we need to correct. It's been really good preparation."
Rasmussen, who won her 100th cap in March and turned 30 last week, plays her club football in Sweden for Kristianstads DFF and has been able to watch the build-up to UEFA Women's EURO 2013 first hand. "It has been great," she said. "I have been following it playing in Sweden. It is amazing to see how many journalists there are and the big hype about it. It has been great to see and it means a lot for women's soccer."
Facing the hosts means Denmark's 1,000-strong support will be rather outnumbered in a sold-out 17,000-capacity Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg, but then having experienced a crowd of more than 50,000 six years ago against China in Wuhan, Rasmussen is prepared. "We have had several of these games before, we know what it's all about," she said. "It's always fun to play in front of a lot of people, though."