top of page

31. Euros Special: Blue in Denmark during 2008 and Business in Germany during 1964

JUL. 1, 2021

Pete & Ryan

Football, football, football..! Welcome to HHE's Euro 2020 soccer special and it's a game of two halves with Pete taking on Business in Germany during the 1964 Euro tournament, and Ryan tackling all things the colour Blue in Denmark during the 2008 tournament.

Grab your rattle, scarf and meat pie and file into the terraces to witness the greatest Euro-related history podcast special ever recorded! 

Blue in Denmark during Euro 2008

• Officially the Kingdom of Denmark
o Parliamentary monarchy
 Future queen is from Tazmania
 Hamlet
• Act I, Scene 4, a palace guard spies the ghost of Hamlet's late father the King, and says, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”
• One of the Nordic countries in Northern Europe
• The southernmost of the Scandinavian countries
o South of Norway
o Down and to the left of Sweden
o Southern border with Germany
• Has a peninsula called Jutland, which is an archipelago of 443 named islands
• Denmark was flattened by mile-high sheets of ice during the ice-age which made it super flat
o In fact, they have bridges which are higher than the highest area of land
• 43,000 SQUARE-KILOMETRES (16,500 sq miles) – 15 Denmarks in a France
• BUT – it has two autonomous territories in the North Atlantic (Faroe Islands and Greenland)
o Thus, Denmark qualifies as an intercontinental state
o 2,200,000 SQUARE KILOMETRES (853,000 square miles) = 3.5 Frances
• Population of 5.84 million
• Capital is Copenhagen
• It is said to enjoy a high standard of living ranking highly in education, health care, equality, protection of civil liberties, and democratic governance
o Supposedly making it the happiest country on Earth
• An EU member but retains the Danish krone as the currency, some coins have holes in them
o It doesn’t mean anything other than to act as a difference.
o The hole is called “The Significant Nothing”
• Denmark facts:
o Home of Lego
o Greatest exporter of pork in the world
o Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Little Mermaid’
o Dogme 95 filmmaking
o Tollund Man, an Iron age man in his 30s who was suffocated by hanging in 280 BCE; the most well-preserved body of all bog bodies to date
• Flag: Red background with a white Scandinavian cross – the oldest flag in continuous use
o 1219, Battle of Lyndanisse (failing crusade in Estonia), prayed and flag from the sky
• National anthem #1: Kong Kristian (‘King Christian’) – for the Royals and / or military use
• National anthem #2: (“There is a lovely land”) – used for civil events including football


• Football (or fodbold) is the national and most popular sport of Denmark
• Known as the ‘Dynamic Danes’
• They play in a traditional red shirt and white shorts
• Notable Danish footballers include:
o Peter Schmeichel, the "World's Best Goalkeeper" in 1992 and 1993
o Michael Laudrup, the best Danish player of all time
o Jon Dahl Tomasson, joint top scorer in the history of Denmark with 52 goals (current assistant manager of the Danish national team)
• The largest stadium is Telia Parken (Parken Stadium) which is the home of the national football team, housing just over 38,000 supporters
o The other stadia are much smaller, with a capacity of ~10,000 supporters
• Supporters of the Danish national football team are nicknamed Roligans
o ‘Rolig’ (means calm), the opposite of Hooligans, i.e. calm, quiet, well-mannered fans
o 1984 UNESCO Fair Play Trophy was awarded to the Danish fans at the European Championship in France

Rich history when it comes to football:

• The oldest sports club in continental Europe - Kjøbenhavns Boldklub is established
• At this time, football is introduced to Denmark, either by:
o British sailors, working in Copenhagen, or
o Danish expats in Britain bringing the game home with them

• Kjøbenhavns Boldklub add football to their roster of sports
o KB later becomes known as FC Copenhagen

• The Danish Football Association and the domestic league are formed (first outside of UK)
o The Dansk Boldspil Union, known as DBU, translates as: Danish Ballgames Union
o The Copenhagen Football Championship, known as Fodboldturneringen

• KB receive an invitation from the Olympic games founder (Baron Pierre De Coubertin) to participate at the 1896 Olympics in a demonstration match against Greece at the Neo Phaliron Velodrome
• KB send just two members of the club (Eugen Schmidt and Holger Nielsen), picking up any Danish sailors and businessmen who happened to be in Athens at the time
• The match and result wasn’t reported because the Greek Crown Prince Constantine gave an order not to mention unofficial sports
• A Russian Olympic committee member later reported that over 6,000 people attended the Velodrome and Denmark won the game 9-0 or 15-0

• Scottish club Queens’s Park go head-to-head with a Danish select XI at the International Festival of Sports and Gymnastics in Copenhagen
• 11,000 people turn up to watch them
• Football becomes popular

• A danish national team participates in the Intercalated Olympic Games
• Denmark defeats a Greek team and two clubs from the Ottoman Empire to win their first major international tournament
• But the DBU refuses to recognise the win because Denmark isn’t considered an official team

• An official Denmark team takes part in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London
• Win silver medal

• Another Olympic silver medal
• Ranked ‘best team in the world’

1920 - 1948
• International competition dwindles with focus on amateur football
• Play friendly matches only, occasionally participating in the regional Nordic Championship

• Denmark qualify for the European Championship, finishing fourth
• DBU allows professional players in the national team

1982 onwards
• 5 appearances in the World Cup, reaching the Quarterfinals on 3 occasions
• Confederation Cup champions in 1995
• Ranked #3 team in the world in 1997
• Qualify six times in a row for the Euros between 1984 and 2004, champions in 1992

• Worst team of the Euros with three defeats and a goal difference of 0:8
• Former-captain Morten Olsen appointed manager
• The squad are dubbed “the Olsen Gang” after a series of Danish movies based on the criminal genius Egon Olsen

• Defeated 0-3 by England in the round of 16 of the world cup

• Eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Euros by the Czech Republic

• Fail to qualify for the World Cup

Euro 2008

• Qualifiers for the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament start in 2006:
o Spain, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Latvia, Iceland and Lichtenstein
o Denmark beat Iceland 0-2, draw against Northern Ireland (0-0), beat Lichtenstein (0-4), lose against Spain (2-1)
o The next game is against Sweden
 the first UEFA qualifying fixture between them
o There is a significant rivalry between Denmark and Sweden
 Played first in 1913
 Of 107 games: 46 wins to Sweden, 41 to Denmark
• 2 June 2007, Denmark host the game at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen
• 42,083 fans in attendance
• One fan, Jesper Jakobsen, is there. Here’s his recollection of the build-up to the game..
• Chat
• So, let’s get into the stadium with Jesper..
• Quick recap:
o Sweden go three goals up in the first half-hour of the game
o Denmark comeback with three goals of their own - Things are looking great!
o But in the 89th minute, Denmark's Christian Poulsen and Sweden's Markus Rosenberg have a tussle in the Danish penalty area; Rosenberg strikes Poulsen, who turns and punches Rosenberg full in the stomach
o The referee, Herbert Fandel, confers with his assistant and sends off Poulsen, awarding Sweden with a penalty with just 1 minute left of the game
o Down to ten men, with their arch-rivals awarded a penalty kick with just one minute left of the game - things are not looking good for Denmark
o But then things get worse.. I’ll let Jesper explain..
• So, another recap:
o After the referee awarded the penalty, a danish fan rushes onto the field and attacks him, throwing a punch but ending in grabbing the ref around the neck
o A Danish defender (Michael Gravgaard) gets between the fan and the referee
o The fan makes it back to the stands, but is almost immediately seized by stewards
o The referee and his assistants have a quick discussion before walking off the field
o The game is abandoned
o The stadium is unsure what’s just happened
o An announcement is made that the game is over, with Sweden winning 0-3
o The teams leave the pitch
o A second fan runs onto the pitch, takes the ball from the penalty spot, runs across the stadium and kicks it in Sweden's goal
o A third fan then runs across the pitch
• So, what happened next?

• A tournament disciplinary hearing took place on 8 June to confirm the decision to award the match to Sweden
• Pending the decision, all ticket sales were suspended for Denmark’s next two qualifiers
• Results of the hearing were:
o Sweden awarded the match 0–3
o Denmark fined €66,000
o Denmark told to play their next four home qualification matches (the rest of the competition) at least 250 kilometres (160 mi) away from Copenhagen
o The next match against Liechtenstein behind closed doors
• The Danish FA were "shocked by the scope of the rulings" and immediately announced an intention to appeal
o "It seems that they didn't look at the geography when they made their decision. Denmark is a small country"
• On 5 July 2007, following an appeal, UEFA replaced the original verdict:
o Sweden continued to be awarded the 3–0 win
o Danish fines were halved to €30,222
o Parken Stadium in Copenhagen was closed for four official competition matches
 Two games deferred for a probationary period of two years
• The two teams met for their second qualifier match on 8 September 2007 in Stockholm
o The game ended in a 0–0 draw
• Sweden eventually qualified for the UEFA Euro 2008, while Denmark was eliminated

The Law and the Referee

• With just 1 minute left of the game, did the referee need to abandon the game? Surely Sweden penalty would have decided things?
• The Laws of the Game talk about stopping and restarting play when an outside agent enters the field of play
o It doesn't matter if the outside agent is a supporter of one of the teams, a toddler, animal or object: Play must stop if there is interference and the game restarted with a dropped ball
o Depending on who or what the outside agent is and the danger they present, the referee should attempt to remove them
o Law 5 of the Laws of the game says if they cannot do this safely, the referee should abandon the match:
 “If spectators are attacking players or a match official, it is no longer safe to continue the match and it should be abandoned immediately”
• So, in this instance:
o the fan ran on the pitch and attacked an official
o The referee brought the match officials together
o They left the field, abandoning the game
o A report was written about the incident and status of the game as when they left
• Everything from that point on is out of the referees' control -- the referee doesn't declare who wins or loses or whether it's a tie or a forfeit --the competition authority decide that
• The referee has no reason to trust that the field is secure
o The local security staff were unable to keep the fan from the field
o Only the intervention of players and the fan's willingness to give up kept things safe
• In fact, security at the stadium was put under the spotlight with a scathing editorial in the Danish press and scrutiny by the UEFA disciplinary committee
o Serious consequences: If one fan got through, five can get through, and if five got through, then hundreds could invade the field
• So... Abandoning is really the only way the referee could have acted:
• And this acted as a punishment
o you came here to watch soccer but you ruined it, so no more soccer
o This provides an incentive for supporters to police their own members and not encourage incursions onto the pitch
o A high-profile abandonment like this one probably prevented many more field incursions from happening
• Who was the referee?
o Herbert Fendal, a German referee
o Once voted both second-best and third-worst referee in the Bundesliga
o Was in charge for the 2006 EUFA Cup Final and the 2007 Champions League final
o Ended his career two years after this game in 2009
o Serves as the head of the German FA’s referee commission since 2010
• Speaking about the incident, Fandel said:
o “At first I thought: Why is this happening to me? It was a huge soccer game up to the 88th minute. What unfortunately gets lost in the reporting is that it was one of the best games I've ever whistled: It was such a fantastic offensive game, with numerous chances on both sides. An incredible game that deserved a different ending. By the way, up to that point it was absolutely fair, I only had to pull out two yellow cards. It was a pleasure for me to be allowed to accompany this game up to this situation.”


• Immediately after the game, the pitch invader becomes the immediate target of anger
• Due to serious threats, publication of his name was censored by court order
• Most of the press complied, but with newspaper Ekstra Bladet identifying him by the initial "R"
• The Danish tabloid B.T. however, ran a petition asking the public for help in identifying him, publishing his full name and residential status in their online edition
• The fan was 29-year-old Dane, Ronni Nørvig who was living and working in Sweden
• Outed in the press, Nørvig did an interview with the paper Ekstra Bladet, saying:
o “I want to say I’m sorry to everyone in Denmark. I spoiled a fantastic evening for so many”
• And everyone acdepted that apology and that was the end of things..
• Only it wasn’t.
• Norvig was taken to court.
o There he said he had drunk 15 to 18 beers before the match and had little memory of the actual incident
o He said he was angered by Fandel’s red card on Poulsen and wanted to tell the referee that his decision was “nonsense”
o He said he could not recall attacking the referee
• Again he apologised:
o "It was incredibly stupid of me. I want to apologise to Denmark, Sweden and the referee for my inhuman behaviour"
• Judgement was a suspended sentence of 30 days in prison
• The prosecution didn’t feel this was sufficient so they appealed and the sentence was changed to a 20 day sentence - to be served
• So, Norvig goes to prison for a month
• Free from prison he is then sued for commercial damage resultant from Danish disqualification:
o DKK 7,000,000 (€940,000) for loss of ticket sales
o DKK 1,900,000 (€255,000) for related commercial losses
• Because of the inadequate security at Parken stadium, DBU sued for just over DKK 1.6 million (€215,000) instead, winning DKK 900k (€120k)
• Norvig appealed for compassion and the fine was lowered to DKK 250,000 (€35,000)
• Four and a half years after the match, Norvig gave a televised interview:

Christian Poulsen

• There’s a lot of focus on Ronni Norvig, and rightly so, but I was curious what the reaction was to Christian Poulsen after the game
• Poulsen was the Danish player who threw the punch and was red-carded – sparking the events that followed
• Poulsen encountered some blame for the loss to Sweden
o Someone called the police on him and demanded he be arrested for violent conduct
o Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, criticised his behaviour: "It was terrible and a very embarrassing behaviour on the Danish side”
o The Danish Justice Minister, Lene Espersen, called for an involuntary national team-hiatus to be given to Poulsen
o Copenhagen chief inspector Flemming Steen Munch went further saying that:
 “It is about time to set an example ... It has almost become acceptable to be violent on the pitch, but violence should not be accepted on the pitch or in society. The TV images clearly show how the Swede is punched in the stomach. My immediate opinion is that according to the penal code the act will lead to a 30-day imprisonment.”
o Reeling that back in, the police chief superintendent later said that comments about possible charges were premature:
 "Football is a contact sport, so the starting point is that the sport's own courts should handle this,"
 He used violence on the hockey rink was as evidence about the acceptability of violence in sport not-subject to the court of law
• So, Poulsen was blamed and his name stained
• He became less popular than he would have otherwise been
• But… it could have been worse. And Ronni Norvig was a lucky distraction
• Poulsen later said:
o “I was involved in a tussle with the Swedish player, who I felt had provoked me twice. I saw red and I hit him. I would like to apologise to my team-mates and the general public. It's the most stupid thing I've ever done. Morten Olsen (the manager) told me afterwards there's no place on this stage for this sort of thing and I have to agree. It happened at a time when we'd pulled back Sweden's lead and were in the driving seat. I can't condone it."
• Morten himself said:
o "It was a black day for Danish football. Christian Poulsen wasn't the only one to blame for the episode but that doesn't excuse what he did.
• Ultimately, Poulsen was banned for just three competitive matches

bottom of page