Denmark used to have a Spain complex in football.
They knocked out Denmark in the semis of Euro 84, then in the last-16 of the 86 World Cup and finally denied the Danes participation at the 94 World Cup by stealing a win in the deciding qualification game.
Spain played a man down for 80 minutes in that game and seasoned Denmark fans still fume that Fernando Hierro’s goal was allowed to stand after Bakero clearly impeded Peter Schmeichel’s attempt to get to the corner.
Unbelievably, Denmark and Spain were once again grouped together for the Euro 96 qualifiers and Spain once again got the upper hand. This time, though, Denmark qualified anyway since the format changed to allow more teams to participate.
Incidentally, Denmark would play its current nemesis for the first time in that tournament. Who can forget Davor Suker’s chip over Schmeichel.
Unfortunately, it was a sign of things to come, as Denmark has now developed a Croatia complex.
Another Balkan beating
Since knocking out Denmark on penalties at the 2018 World Cup, Croatia has now beaten Denmark twice in the Nations League to take over top spot in the group with one game to go.
The latest installment came last night in Zagreb thanks to a 2-1 win for the home team. Even a memorable goal by Christian Eriksen couldn’t save Denmark.
Denmark played well at times, but Luca Modric and company deserved their win in the end.
Now Denmark must beat France at home on Sunday and hope Croatia drop points in Austria to become group winners and book a trip to the final four.