It’s been 102 years since Sweden and Denmark first met in a football match, and in their 103 clashes never has one side given less than everything to uphold national honour.
The geographical neighbours will meet twice over the next seven days in a battle to decide who gets to play in France next summer, and both teams will do well to keep a level head with a simply raucous crowd all around them.
This has always been a competitive affair, and Sweden edge it ahead of the 104th meeting with 45 wins to Denmark’s 40, with 18 draws in that time but it’s the Danes who have enjoyed the contest recently, winning the last four without conceding.
This wouldn’t have become the rivalry it is today without some notable fixtures down the years and we’ve taken a look back at some of the biggest and most controversial.
June 2007 – Euro 2008 Championships Qualifier
For 89 minutes this game was a belter. Sweden raced into a 3-0 lead through Johan Elmander (remember him?) and Petter Hansson inside 30 minutes, before Denmark rallied in Copenhagen.
Former Liverpool man Daniel Agger made it 3-1, and in the second half ex-Newcastle flop Jon Dahl Tomasson and Leon Andreasen levelled the game to send the crowd into raptures.
But with a minute to go, Denmark’s Christian Poulsen punched Markus Rosenberg and all hell broke loose.
Poulsen was sent off, Sweden had a penalty and a fan ran out and attacked the referee.
With a minute to go the game was abandoned and Sweden were handed a 3-0 win. Denmark were forced to play their next two qualifying games 140km from Copenhagen.
All in all, pretty surreal.
June 1992 – Euro 1992 Championships
There’s just something about a June clash with these two.
This was the first meeting between the teams in a major tournament and furthermore, Sweden were hosts.
The game was a tense affair but 1990s legend Tomas Brolin thrust himself into the limelight with the only goal of the game as the hosts prevailed 1-0.
Denmark would have the last laugh however, famously winning the tournament against Germany.
June 2004 – Euro 2004 Championships
We are sure Sweden and Denmark play each other outside of June, but anyway, in 2004 the rivals found themselves in an unusual position of needing to work together.
Group C at the 2004 Euros in Portugal had proven a tight beast to master.
Italy had drawn 0-0 with Denmark and 1-1 with Sweden, meaning that heading into the final round of matches, an Italy win would be enough for them to progress as long as the Scandinavian enemies didn’t suddenly become best pals and draw 2-2 or more. Thus ensuring a better Goals For record in the tie-breaker for both the Swedes and Danes.
Guess what happened…
Denmark were heading for a 2-1 win and a place in the last eight along with Italy, when Matthias Johnsson notched an 89th minute equaliser.
How convenient you might say. Italian fans were outraged but there was never any evidence of anything more than a quirky twist of fate.
This time around, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead his Sweden side knowing this is probably his last shot at playing in a major tournament.
For Denmark – 23/10 to claim the victory on Saturday night – one can imagine they would be very happy to win a fifth successive contest with their fierce rivals while simultaneously ending the Swede’s Euro 2016 ambitions in the cruellest possible way.
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