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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
The alternative guide to Denmark
What do we really know about the 16 nations taking part in Euro 2004?

From their footballing pedigree to their favourite food, find out about the countries heading to Portugal.

Footballing legend:

Denmark's Allan Simonsen
Simonsen: Charlton legend

It's really just been in the last 20 years that Denmark has produced some great players.

There have been brothers Michael and Brian Laudrup, Preben Elkjaer-Larsen, Lars Elstrup, Peter Schmeichel and more recently Ebbe Sand and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

But all those players owed a lot to 1977 European Footballer of the Year, Allan Simonsen.

Simonsen was the first Danish footballing superstar and made his name at Barcelona, Borussia Moenchengladbach and...Charlton.

He helped Moenchengladbach to five German championships, two Uefa Cups and a German cup.

The attacking midfielder is also the only player to have scored in three major European cup finals.

He now manages Luxembourg. Oh well, all good things...

Dish of the day:

Danish food is not just limited to pig meat and pastries, although it would be fair to say they feature heavily in the diets of Denmark's citizens.

A popular food is Leverpostej or liver pate, which is made up of chopped pig's liver and fat, chopped onions, milk, eggs and flour then baked in the oven and eaten with ryebread.

There is also Stegt Flaesk med Persillesovs, which is fried slices of pork with fat, served with parsley sauce and boiled potatoes.

And for those who haven't had enough of old Porky Pig, the Danes also like stegt medister, a thick sausage with minced pig meat and fat, spices and chopped onion, fried on the frying pan.

Figures for heart disease in Denmark were not available.

National treasures:

Helena Christensen
Christensen: One of Denmark's finest exports
It can only be Hans Christian Andersen, although fans of supermodel Helena Christensen may protest.

Andersen wrote fairytale classics such as the Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina and The Ugly Duckling.

A statue of The Little Mermaid has been erected on the Danish capital Copenhagen's harbour.

There are no plans to have a statue made of Helena Christensen, so stop your whinging.

Eurovision pedigree:

The Danes have won the Eurovision Song Contest on two occasions.

The first time was in 1963 when Grethe and Jorgen Ingmann beautifully sang Dansevise and the last was the Olsen Brothers' Fly On The Wings Of Love, which was nothing like Jeffrey Osborne's 1980s classic.

But perhaps Denmark should have got some sort of prize for their 1982 entry Video Video, sung by Brixx. Below is a sample of the lyrics.

When I can hear the pouring rain, I turn my video on again
Humphrey Bogart and Bjorn from Wimbledon - I've got them on, they turn me on


National dress:

An average day in Legoland
There is no national costume associated with Denmark, unlike fellow Scandinavian countries Norway and Sweden.

But what is worth checking out is the thousands of outfits and hair pieces that can be bought for the Danish-invented Lego characters. Now that's proper fashion.

Magic moment:

The Danes have been very entertaining over the last quarter of a century.

They came to the attention of the world at the 1986 World Cup finals when they played some scintillating football, beating Uruguay 6-1, Scotland and West Germany to win their group.

However, in the second round they lost 5-1 to Spain.

Better luck was to be had at the 1992 European Championship.

Denmark entered the competition through the back door after Yugoslavia were thrown out because of domestic troubles.

And amazingly the Danes reached the final, beating hot favourites Germany thanks to Kim Vilfort and John Jensen. Remember him, Arsenal fans?

Nightmare moment

After a great World Cup in 1986, the Danes were expected to perform wonders at the European Championship two years later - but alas, they did not.

It was a disaster. They failed to score a single point, although they were in a group containing Italy, Spain and hosts West Germany. Now that's just plain unlucky.

Links to more Denmark stories



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