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Euro 2020: Danes ready for ‘war’ against Czechs in quarterfinal

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JULY 02: In this handout picture provided by UEFA, Simon Kjaer of Denmark speaks to the media during the Denmark Press Conference ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Quarter Final match between the Czech Republic and Denmark at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on July 02, 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Having hammered Wales 4-0 to set up a Euro 2020 quarterfinal against the Czech Republic on Saturday, Denmark have rediscovered their hunger and are starting to believe they can secure the trophy they won in spectacular fashion in 1992.

The Danes got off to a disastrous start, losing playmaker Christian Eriksen to a cardiac arrest in their opening loss to Finland, but they have bounced back and are riding a wave of positive energy into the clash with the Czechs.

“We are not done yet and we are going to attack tomorrow with the same attitude and hunger – the gold is far away right now, but the hunger is great,” team captain Simon Kjaer told a news conference on Friday.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, whose father Peter kept goal for the 1992 team, said motivations abounded.

“The things we dreamed of as kids, and everything we’ve been through as a team. The love for the national team has grown bigger and bigger,” he said.

“We built momentum under (previous coach) Age (Hareide), we could not imagine how crazy it would be. We want to continue to make the country and the families proud. This is not going to stop – tomorrow, we go to war.”

Coach Kasper Hjulmand, who told Reuters ahead of the tournament how the victorious 1992 side inspires them, said his team were going out to win for all of Denmark.

“We have two dreams – we want to win something and help inspire and excite. We can feel the energy from all over Denmark, from young and old,” he told reporters.

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“It provides motivation and we have a huge inner hunger. That’s how the whole team is. And we know it’s about winning it all – we have always said that.”

Schmeichel said he had not made any special preparations to deal with Czech striker Patrik Schick, who has netted three goals so far at Euro 2020, including a lob from almost halfway against Scotland.

“I have not analysed Schick. I prepare in the same way no matter who I play against. I watch football and know what the teams can do, but it does not matter who hits the ball, because if they hit it right, it can go in,” he said.

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