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Football history: Euro 92, the fairy tale of Denmark

taken from a story by Gabriele Ferraresi / Luz
The year, 1992. For six months the USSR has been gone - it will participate in Euro 92 as a CIS, Community of Independent States - Germany has been united for three years, Yugoslavia is embroiled in a bloody war, and in fact the national team so called Brazil of Europe is disqualified from the European football championships, for a match organised in Sweden. However there is now a  place for a team to be brought on: it was Denmark.
Football in the early 1990s is not yet the hyper-professional football of today, and so the Danes, in June, are already almost all on holiday. They are called back urgently: The coach Richard Møller-Nielsen was renovating his home kitchen at the time - and the best players? They were scattered, removed to the last.

Players are free to enjoy a rest period away from the sports fields with their families and friends. During this period there is a normal reduction in physical activity.

One of them is the star Michael Laudrup: an international striker who plays in Barcelona and doesn’t even answer the call, because at the time he was in a dispute with Møller-Nielsen. The Danes put together a passable 11 - with a few stars but in their favour there was a lot of solidity and a cohesive group. Only 8 national teams play in the final phase, divided into two groups of 4 before the direct clashes, two semi-finals and a final.
Merchandising of Denmark's national football team at Euro 92

The route to Denmark's Euro 92

It's a bad start for Denmark, with a nightmare round. A seaside team that will have to fight against France, England and Sweden. The France of the Ballon d'Or Jean Pierre Papin and a young Eric Cantona, the England of David Platt and a little over 20 years old Alan Shearer, and the national team that plays at home and has the public on its side.
It could have gone better, but against all odds, Sweden and Denmark are in the top two places in the round. The Danes are in the semifinals against Holland, and the "oranges" of the time are a team of champions: three play in Italy, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Marco Van Basten and another one will come soon, Dennis Bergkamp.

Euro 92 final with Germany as world champion

Denmark is in the final: against Germany. Germany, which two years earlier had won the World Cup in Italy '90.

Germany were coached by Berti Vogts, with players like RiedleKlinsmannHaßler. Germany will never enter the game, because Denmark will play its best game of the tournament, closing it with a 2-0 and a return home as heroes.  The strength of the group shone through, which won the European Championships.

Seats of a modern stadium.

Athletic preparation in football

At the end of the championship and all other possible sporting competitions such as the European Championships, the holiday period begins. Players are free to enjoy a rest period away from the sports fields with their families and friends. During this period there is a normal reduction in physical activity. The amateur summer practice of other sports (beach volleyball, beach tennis, foot volleyball, etc.) and normal dietary regimes does not guarantee to work in the usual quantities during the championship. Precisely for this reason, pre-season preparation has a decisive role in the outcome of the future sports season and the prevention of injuries.

Tests for the evaluation of physical condition

In the first part of the preparation, various tests are carried out to assess general physical condition, aerobic condition and strength. Among the various tests the most used are:

- 1. Weight assessment and calculation of body fat percentage.
- 2. Conconi test as an index of aerobic characteristics
- 3. Cooper test.
- 4. Shuttle test (Hut or the widely used yo-yo test by Leger).
- 5. Bosco test, for the evaluation of some muscular characteristics of the lower limbs.
- 6. Isokinetic tests.

Danish national football team fan with painted face.

Aerobic Conditioning

Once the tests have been carried out and the work groups have been created, work begins in the field. The training techniques used by the athletic trainers are very varied during the pre-season period but all of them are based on the development of the basic aerobic condition.

The strength of the group, which won the European Championships when it was already on holiday.

Whether the program includes a series of repeats on 1000-800-300m or alternating work intervals or which are intermittent, the objectives in the first part of the preparation are the improvement of aerobic capacity and vascularization of the lower limbs. The work of the aerobic fund in addition to the metabolic helps in the prevention of injuries as it improves the contractile capacity of the fibers, improves the cellular metabolism within the muscle.
Happy fans of Denmark's national football team

Programming of strength work

In addition to resistance work, strength is also of great importance during the preparation phase. As for the development of aerobic capacity, also in this case in the pre-season period is given importance to large volumes of work because we have both more time during training sessions and because there is a way to dispose of the accumulated work without running the risk of getting tired and overloaded at the match.
In the first training sessions, as already mentioned above, we will give more importance to the volume of training. It will be essential to learn the correct movements in order to develop a perfect motor gesture and learn the correct patterns and sequences that will be proposed during the year.
In the pre-championship period, the focus will be on multiarticular movements that develop the entire kinetic chain and not just the single muscle. For example:

  • 1. Squats
  • 2. Ground clearance
  • 3. Lateral sinking
  • 4. Propaedeutics for the endorsement
  • 5. Hip Thruster

Post-workout recovery

A fundamental phase of training is the cool down. This phase takes place at the end of the training and lasts about 10-15 minutes. It is essential because it serves to restore the correct posture and to return the heartbeats to normal after an intense workout.
In the defatication, priority should be given to joint mobility exercises, stretching, posture and relaxation. Each exercise must be carried out with moderation, breathing must be slow and continuous, so as to relax even the deep muscles (the diaphragm in particular).

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