Copenhagen (AFP) – Kasper Hjulmand said on Friday that his Denmark team will “dream big” as they prepare for their Euro 2020 opener against Finland with one eye on a repeat of their unexpected triumph in 1992.
A talented Danish side begin their campaign at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on Saturday evening, nearly three decades after winning their one major honour in a tournament for which they only took part because of the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Hjulmand, 49, was not fazed when asked whether he thought his team could go all the way.
“We are comfortable and we believe in ourselves,” Hjulmand told reporters.
“We do dare to dream big but we also know that there are bigger countries out there with better opportunities to win it all. So our first aim is to progress from the group and then everything can happen.
“It’s football and in one game everything can happen. But first and foremost it’s the first game against Finland and we’ll do our best to try and get a good start. From there, as I said, everything can happen.”
Denmark will be spurred on by 16,000 their own fans against Finland. For the following two matches against Belgium and Russia at the Parken that number could rise to 25,000 as the Scandinavian country relaxes coronavirus restrictions.
On Thursday, the Danish government announced that face masks would no longer required from June 14, except on public transport.
Denmark has been relatively spared from the pandemic, as of Thursday it had just 122 Covid patients in hospital, the lowest number since October.
“The more noise the better. It’s something that has to give us some advantage,” said Hjulmand.
“It’s really good news and the players have been so happy about it. We’re looking forward to having even more people at the stadium. Hopefully it will give us a bigger boost. So, the more noise and the more partying, the better it is for us.”
Key to Denmark’s success will be Christian Eriksen, who comes into the Euro after a turbulent season at Inter Milan when he won last season’s Serie A title but also spent long periods out of departed coach Antonio Conte’s team.
“I think it wouldn’t matter where I’ve come from in the last 18 months. Every tournament is special, no matter where I’ve come from,” said the 29-year-old.
“I’m not looking backwards, I’m looking forwards to this tournament and to play the Euros.
“How things are seen from the outside and I feel about them may be completely different. If it (the Euro) had been seven months ago I would have still been very confident going into the tournament.”
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