Back to… Denmark – Netherlands 1992: Andersen’s other tale

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By Alexandre Pedro

Posted today at 6:00 am

A cry tears apart the night of Gothenburg on June 22, 1992. A scream rather, preceded by a sharp noise. Henrik Andersen will never forget this sound close to that “Of a branch that breaks”. Even less the image of his kneecap out of his knee or the dread on the face of his teammates.

In 2016, the former left-back returned for The world on this traumatic scene, this 70e minute of the Euro semi-final against the Netherlands. « I’m on the left side. Van Basten arrives with the ball. He loses his balance a bit, his bent knee hits mine ”, details the one whose blond mule has given way to graying ears of hair.

Henrik Andersen, knee injury, June 22, 1992 in Gothenburg (Sweden).

And to think that the Dutchman’s knee should never have met that of the defender of FC Cologne at the time. In June 1992, Denmark said no to Maastricht and to the single currency, but its selection was invited to the Euro with the Swedish neighbor without having reserved. On May 30, the UN decided to put the regime of Slobodan Milosevic under embargo. The next day, UEFA excludes Yugoslavia from the European Championship, where a Bosnian coach (Ivica Osim) directs Serbs and Montenegrins in full preparations for the competition. There is now a place to take.

First miracle, Denmark is drafted for the benefit of its second place behind Yugoslavia in its qualification group. The new cuisine promised by Richard Moller Nielsen to his wife must wait a bit. But, for the coach, much criticized, prepare a Euro in less than two weeks, and with players already gone on vacation for some, also looks like DIY.

Minigolf and lunch at McDonald’s

During qualifying, the Laudrup brothers slammed the door, in conflict with Moller Nielsen. Danish football and FC Barcelona star Michael, the eldest, prefers to continue his vacation. “I think Michael was afraid of the ridiculous or whatever”, Andersen says. Less narrow-minded or more easily influenced, his younger brother Brian accepts the hand extended by his coach. Others promise their partner that it is a matter of ten days, the time to take the door in a group made up of Sweden, England and France.

Also read: We found Henrik Andersen

From a distance, these Danes are like tourists disembarking in tap to enjoy the swimming pool of their hotel, failing to sunbathe on the beaches of the Costa Brava. A reputed rigid coach, Moller Nielsen adapts. He alternates training with minigolf and even authorizes a collective lunch at the neighboring McDonald’s. “It was a bit of a mess. During the first training sessions, the team was not in good shape, defender John Sivebaek tells So Foot. There were quite a few differences between those who had just finished the season and those who returned from vacation. »

A second miracle happens. Despite a point taken in two games, the Danes can dream of a qualification in the event of Sweden’s victory against England, combined with a success against the Blues by Michel Platini. At 1-1, the account is not there. Lars Elstrup then appears. At 78e minute, the substitute deceives with a pivotal strike Bruno Martini. Sweden fulfills its share of the work and Denmark celebrates its hero also known to have joined, later, an anarcho-Buddhist sect or to interrupt a match while running naked in the middle of the players.

Morphine penalty shootout

And this is how Henrik Andersen finds himself defending on the triple Golden Ball of AC Milan. At that time, his team leads 2-1. When he arrives at the ER, the Netherlands tied by Frank Rijkaard. “I got a morphine shot, continues the former player. I listened to the winning penalty shootout over the hospital speaker. “

He then hears that Peter Schmeichel diverted the shot from … van Basten and qualified Denmark for a final which he could not have played due to suspension. “We will win for Henrik”, ad Moller Nielsen.

In 2016, the interested party returned with a mixture of nostalgia and sadness about this match. At 27, he was at the peak of his career, courted by the most prestigious Italian clubs. “This semi-final is both the pinnacle of my career and what stopped it”, breath the one who appeared in the eleven-type of this Euro 92.

After almost a year of recovery, Andersen suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in his second recovery game. His career did not recover. “When I started again, I played a few games at 50%. I wanted to come back but I no longer had the same power. ” The moral of Andersen’s tales can sometimes be cruel.

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