September 6 – Denmark’s bits-and-pieces team of lower-league players, drafted in because of a bitter pay dispute, went down fighting when they beaten 3-0 by Slovakia in a friendly on Wednesday.
The stand-in players said they were proud of their performances as negotiations continue to resolve a row that has ripped the heart out of Danish football.
“I think we’re leaving here with our honour intact,” said Christian Offenberg, a part-time salesman who plays for Danish third-tier side Avarta and was one of those selected by the Danish football association which was forced to assemble a squad of part-time and amateur players after failing to strike a new collective agreement with the players union in regards to commercial rights.
Midfielder Rasmus Johansson was one of the futsal players to start the game for Denmark, along with goalkeeper Christoffer Haagh, and said it was “an insane experience.”
“Of course it’s a strange situation we’ve ended up in, but I’ve always dreamed of making my national team debut. It’s big. And I think everyone performed well.”
The DBU had feared a huge fine from UEFA or even a ban from internationals if they failed to fulfil the fixture. It now remains unclear whether the same makeshift squad will also have to face Wales, Gareth Bale and all, this weekend in their UEFA Nations League opener, or whether a deal with the union can be struck in time after months of deadlock.
Appointed temporary head coach, former Danish international John Jensen said: ““I had to start from scratch and ask each player his name and which position he plays on the field.”
“Where we are now, I see only losers in the conflict, and Danish football loses most of all. When I say yes to help here, it’s because I feel very strong for the national team as an institution, and because I think the most important thing must be that the games will be played.”
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