Football

Danish stars in winning return after money row

The Welsh fans chanted at the Denmark players, "you're only here for the money", but that did not faze the Danes, as Christian Eriksen scored a double to lead them to a 2-0 win over Wales yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The victory in Aarhus ended a week of turmoil for the national team on a high note, following last week's farce during their friendly with Slovakia.

The Danish FA (DBU) was forced to field a makeshift side made up of third-tier and futsal players in their 3-0 loss to Slovakia, following a contract dispute over image rights with the regular internationals who helped Denmark reach the last 16 in this year's World Cup.

The parties reached a short-term agreement on Thursday to allow the players to return and they were greeted with loud cheers as they walked on to the pitch, despite being labelled greedy by many supporters during the week.

"DBU and the players seem to have forgotten the national team are bigger than both of them and have ended up alienating us regular Danes. They need to find a true compromise and make it about what happens on the pitch," said 23-year-old student Johannes.

Despite the chants from the Welsh fans, Eriksen scored the opening goal after half an hour with a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder added the second with a 63rd-minute penalty, following a handball by Wales defender Ethan Ampadu.

Denmark coach Age Hareide also returned to the sidelines after former international John Jensen deputised for him during the Slovakia match. The DBU did not want Hareide to take charge of a team he did not pick.

Hareide praised Eriksen and thought his well-rested players had more energy than their opponents, who had defeated Ireland 4-1 last Friday.

"We've seen so many teams try to lock him (Eriksen) down, but they lose him when he comes around the box and that is his big advantage," he said.

"There is no doubt that we were fresher than the Welsh."

Welsh captain Gareth Bale went close to pulling a goal back in the 83rd minute when his deflected shot forced Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel into an acrobatic save.

Wales manager Ryan Giggs was disappointed with the first goal his team conceded.

"When you don't get the press right and Eriksen is free on the box - which we've talked about beforehand - you're in trouble," he said. - REUTERS

Football