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By Pete Sanderson in Blackpool
Finland coach Michael Käld confessed his side would be in "football heaven" if they achieve their dream of reaching the semi-final's of UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2005™ on Saturday.
The 50-year-old leads his team out against Denmark at Bloomfield Road knowing even a victory may not be enough to secure a place in the last four of the tournament. But he acknowledged that whatever the result his side will leave the north-west of England with their heads held high.
"No matter what the outcome of Saturday's game I will be proud of my players," he told uefa.com at the team's hotel earlier today. "We achieved our ultimate goal by qualifying for this tournament and our performances have been a credit to my side. If we could get beyond the group stages that would be football heaven - especially when you consider what a young and inexperienced team we have. But just to still have a chance of making the next stage after two games is an achievement in itself."
Käld entered the tournament knowing his side would not only need a slice of luck but also to stay injury-free to stand any chance of progressing. Although he feels fortune has so far avoided his squad with England grabbing a last minute win in their first game and Lady Luck failing to shine on them in their goalless draw with Sweden, they have no injuries to report ahead of the match with Denmark.
If the Finns can collect all three points against the Danes, they still need the game between England-Sweden to end in a victory for either side. Käld, however, insisted he will focus on his own team's game. "
We will endeavour to do what we have to do and keep our fingers crossed either England or Sweden can do us a favour," he said. "We know we have to win but we will still play our normal game. We know Denmark have two very gifted wingers so we must be careful when we attack. But if it is 0-0 after 60 minutes then we will go for broke and push for a goal – it promises to be very exciting."
Denmark coach Peter Bonde is equally thrilled with his team's achievements so far and was further encouraged by the news that defender Bettina Falk has recovered from an ankle injury allowing him to field his strongest side in their concluding Group A fixture. The Danes need only to avoid defeat against Finland to advance and Bonde is confident this can be achieved.
"We are in a strong position and very confident we can make the last four," he told uefa.com. "Finland are strong defensively and have very disciplined players but I know my team have the talent to break them down."
Bonde has put his side's tremendous form down to their team spirit. "There is a great atmosphere and in this squad and I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the attitude of the team when I took over," he added. "
In a short space of time we have come on so much but I feel we must play better than we did against England if we are to win this group."
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