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EUROS

‘Crazy journey’ to Euro 2017 final for Denmark’s Røddik

More than eleven years ago, defender Line Røddik embarked on a "crazy journey" ending, for now, in Sunday's women's Euro final against the Netherlands in Enschede.

'Crazy journey' to Euro 2017 final for Denmark's Røddik
Line Røddik duels with Norway's Nora Holstad Berge during Denmark's 1-0 group stage victory. Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Scanpix

“I think it sounds pretty good, it's an amazing feeling at the moment, I think you don't really believe it at the same time, right?” Røddik told AFP a day after Denmark had edged Euro newcomers Austria on penalties in the semi-final.

“It's been a crazy journey and I think before the Euros, you were dreaming about going to the final but I'm not sure that you really could believe that you would be there. So it's for sure a dream come true.”

The 29-year-old Barcelona full back is playing at her third Euro tournament since starting her national team career in 2006.

In 2009, Denmark did not make it past the group stage, while in 2013 they crashed out of the semi-final after losing to Norway on penalties.

“Being in the semi-final, you just want to go to the final, and I remember that game against Norway because I actually think that we were worth going to that final,” Røddik said.

“We ended up in penalties as well and like always with penalties it's so difficult.”

“When you stand there in the semi-final it's not so easy, I remember we were so disappointed. And yesterday I was like, this can't happen again, for sure.”

In 2013, the team changed the coach, with Nils Nielsen taking the helm, and set the goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“This has been a journey for us not only for this tournament but for a couple of years,” said Røddik, who was picked as Denmark's football player of the year in 2010.

“We didn't qualify for the World Cup (in 2015), that was really, really disappointing, but I think after that we just kept growing,” she added.


Røddik (L) with coach Nils Nielsen and teammate Pernille Harder during a Euro 2017 press conference. Photo: Reuters/Scanpix

“And I think that's what we see now, how we kept growing as a team, as being ready to play as needed for the day.”

“If we need to fight, we are ready to take up the fight, if we're not able to play football the way we want to play, then we are ready to fight instead and I think that's maybe one of the keys.”

“We find the solutions on the field and we have different tools in our toolbox that we can play in different ways.”

Tools for Sunday's final against the Netherlands, who swept England 3-0 in Thursday's semi-final and hold on to a perfect record from the tournament, will include tight defence.

“They have these really, really good offensive players and that's what we have to be ready for,” said Røddik, who expects a tough fight with speedy right winger Shanice van de Sanden.

“It would be stupid to start running with her,” Røddik said, adding she was planning to “put her under pressure before she gets the ball” or slow her down.

The two teams met at the 2009 Euro and the Netherlands won, confirming Denmark's early exit.

“This time they can't stop us. Or I hope so,” said Røddik. 

READ ALSO: Nadia Nadim: the refugee who became a Danish footballing role model

FOOTBALL

Denmark defeated by Dutch in Euro 2017 final

Denmark were beaten 4-2 by the Netherlands in an entertaining Euro 2017 final in Enschede on Sunday evening.

Denmark defeated by Dutch in Euro 2017 final
Photo: Tobias Schwarz/Scanpix Denmark/AFP

The Danish women's national side's outstanding run at Euro 2017 came to a disappointing end in front of 28,182 fans as the host nation came out on top in the tournament's final match.

In a pulsating first half, the penetration of Danish left winger Katrine Veje and movement of forwards Pernille Harder and Nadia Nadim caused the Dutch defence problems on the counter attack during the opening stages.

Denmark were rewarded for their industriousness on six minutes when midfielder Sanne Troelsgaard was brought down in the box and Nadim converted the resulting spot kick.

But Denmark’s threat on the flank was matched with interest by lightning quick Dutch attacker Shanice van de Sanden, who outstripped left back Cecilie Sandvej for pace and cut across for Vivianne Miedema’s equaliser just four minutes later.


Netherlands' forward Shanice van de Sanden (L) vies for the ball with Denmark's midfielder Sofie Pedersen. Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/Scanpix Denmark/AFP

Denmark weathered a period of Dutch pressure in the middle of the first half as the game settled down slightly from the high-octane start, although threats remained at both ends, with van de Sanden looking particularly dangerous and Harder jinking into the Dutch penalty area but failing to find a teammate with her cut-back.

The Danish team looked in real trouble on 28 minutes, when the defence failed to close down Lieke Martens, who beat goalkeeper Stina Lykke Petersen from well outside the penalty area.

Nadim had a great chance to equalise moments later after being put through by Troelsgaard, but was drawn too wide after rounding Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.

Captain Harder then brought Denmark right back into contention, charging down the right before cutting inside and smashing the ball into the near corner with her left foot to send the over 2,500 red and white fans in the stadium wild.

Harder’s goal was not the final Danish chance of the first half as the team in white began to dominate territorially. A long ball from the right almost saw Veje connect well enough to unnerve van Veenendaal again, and a teasing cross by Maja Kildemoes evaded Nadim.

READ ALSO: Nadia Nadim: the refugee who became a Danish footballing role model

The second 45 minutes proved to be a rough ride for Kvindelandsholdet (the Women’s National Team).

Dutch captain Sherida Spitze capitalised on a sluggish start to the second half by Denmark by placing a free-kick past a somewhat poorly-positioned Lykke Petersen on 51 minutes.

The goal seemed to take the wind from the sails of the Danish players.

Lykke Petersen was able to atone for her earlier error with a terrific point-blank save from Miedema on 61 minutes as the Dutch continued to press the tiring Danes high up the pitch.

Veje came close shortly afterward, firing wide after good work on the left from the impressive Harder.

Substitute Frederikke Thøgersen then failed to get her shot on target after van Veenendaal palmed a corner out to her.

Central defender Simone Boye became the latest in a series of injuries suffered by Denmark during the tournament, hobbling off on 75 minutes to be replaced by Line Røddik.

Denmark created a couple more chances as the Dutch ground out the final’s remaining minutes. Nadim embarked on a solo run down the left with eight minutes remaining, and Troelsgaard’s long-range effort from the resulting corner flew narrowly wide.

It was to prove Denmark’s last hope of becoming European champions as the Dutch retained possession going into the final moments of the match.

With 88 minutes on the clock, the Oranje broke forward to seal the championship as Miedema advanced into the area to finish low and score the host nation’s fourth.

The Netherlands are only the fourth country to win the trophy.

Germany, who were beaten by Denmark in the quarter finals, have won the tournament eight times including the last six championships in a row.

Two-time winners Norway and Sweden, who won the first edition in 1984, complete the list of former winners.

“We have to take our hats off to the Dutch. They played well, were dangerous and knew when it was going to happen. They were sharp in the penalty area,” goalscorer Nadim told broadcaster DR after the match.

The striker added that it would take her a while to get over the defeat.

“I’m really disappointed. I feel like we threw away the gold medal. Maybe it will take a couple of weeks to feel happy about the performance we delivered. We showed the football world what Denmark can do. Right now, we’re obviously disappointed,” she said.

Coach Nils Nielsen told DR that he was proud of his players’ efforts, but that the Netherlands had deserved their win.

“We played our part in a good final, but lost to the better team on the day. And there’s not really that much more to say about it. Holland deserved to win. They’ve played well throughout the tournament.

“I’m incredibly proud of my players. I think they’ve performed throughout the entire tournament, including today. They left everything out there. There just wasn’t quite enough,” he said.


Denmark's players with Crown Prince Frederik and Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who both attended the final in Enschede. Photo: Tobias Schwarz/Scanpix Denmark/AFP