Soccer-Denmark still dreaming of glory ahead of England showdown

By Nick Said

FRANKFURT, Germany (Reuters) - Denmark have long lost the bitter taste of defeat from three years ago and are not fuelled by thoughts of revenge as they face England in European Championship Group C on Thursday in search of a repeat of their 1992 continental triumph.

The Danes were furious following a 2-1 Euro 2020 semi-final loss to England at Wembley after a spot-kick awarded to the hosts in extra-time led to Harry Kane's winner as he knocked in the rebound after his initial effort was saved.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand described it at the time as a "penalty which should not have been a penalty".

"It took me a while to digest it. I carried it for a while," he told reporters on Wednesday. "Those kinds of defeats make us learn and grow, but they also make you believe you can do it, because we were so close (to a final)."

Denmark were disappointed they let a lead slip in a 1-1 draw with Slovenia in their Group C opener, and Hjulmand says there are no thoughts of settling for a point against one of the tournament favourites.

"We are going to go out with the mindset to win the game," he said. "We are going to be fighting for the ball, England have a lot of quality and are good at controlling possession.

"We have had some good results against England when we had control over the ball. So we are going to try do what we are best at. But nothing is gifted, we have fight for it."

Captain Simon Kjaer will be fit to start if selected.

"He could play, he has been doing better. He had a good training session and his numbers look good," Hjulmand said.

Denmark's former Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, whose father Peter lifted the European Championship in 1992, is full of praise for Thursday’s opponents.

"They were a world-class side when they made the final (in 2021) and when you look at the additions that have come in and the experience they have gained, I think this is the best England team since I started watching them," Kasper Schmeichel said.

"I don’t think anyone comes to the Euros without dreaming of a gold medal. We have done it before as a country, my generation was inspired by that win in 1992.

"The standards (to win it) are high and that is how it should be. But if you don’t have dreams, life is not fun."

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)