Danes set for quarter-final against Czechs

Denmark take on the Czech Republic in Sunday's Euro 2004 quarter-final in Porto.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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It may be a case of deja vu for Denmark. In 1992, they won this tournament - having initially failed to qualify but then being awarded a place in the finals after the withdrawal of Yugoslavia. Now, 12 years on, they stand on the verge of another unlikely triumph. Before the "Danish Dynamite" can look for bigger things, it has to get past the Czech Republic in Sunday's Euro 2004 quarter-final in Porto. "I think we have as even a chance as the Czech Republic. Two good teams that play some good football, they have shown that in this competition too. Both teams have their strengths and their weaknesses,” said Morten Olsen, Denmark coach. Denmark came through their group unbeaten - a win against Bulgaria and draws with Italy and Sweden securing their quarter-final spot. But the Czechs won all three of their group games, despite fielding a largely reserve side against Germany. So is Rene Henriksen expecting their toughest match yet? "I think it's more difficult, of course. They have gained a lot of confidence from their own group and even without the first eleven, they managed to win. So, of course, they have a squad full of confidence and I think it's a team with a lot of quality,” said Reni Henriksen. Interestingly, the Czechs have fallen behind in each of their three group games, although Henriksen is not anticipating letting the Czechs score first on Sunday. The defender says the players have prepared well and are ready for any eventuality. "I think we're well prepared. We've seen some videos, of course, and we have played against the players before. So we try, of course, to see where they are strong and try to cope with this," he said. With the departures of the so-called 'big guns' of the tournament - England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - it could be that the progress of the likes of Denmark and the Czech Republic signifies a seismic shift in the balance of power in European football. The winners of Sunday's match will play Greece for a place in the final of Euro 2004. (AP)