England v Denmark: How the Danes took their national team to their heart

Credit: ITV News/@GeraintITV

Good luck trying to buy a Denmark football shirt in Copenhagen, or any other bit of the kit for that matter - it’s all sold out.

The latest edition of the national team’s red shirts are highly prized. Commuters were wearing them as they cycled to work through the streets of Copenhagen on Wednesday morning. Hummel, the Danish sportswear brand which manufactures the national side’s kit, came up with a clever idea. On the inside collar of every shirt they printed an image of a sound recording. It’s the first line of the national anthem ‘Der er et yndigt land’ — 'there is a beautiful land' — as sung by the home crowd in the national stadium.

On the collar of every Denmark shirt is an image of a sound recording of the first line of the national anthem sung by the home crowd. Credit: ITV News

It’s a connection between the fans and a football team the Danish people hold very close to their heart. There’s a sense that the side embodies Danish values like solidarity and teamwork.

The team’s defining moment this tournament was, of course, the cardiac arrest that star player Christian Eriksen suffered and survived. The protective shield his team mates formed around him as the doctors saved his life on the pitch was the moment Euro 2020 became so much more than a sporting competition. Add compassion and dignity to that list of values.Amid all the emotion, it's easy to forget that the Danes are extremely good at playing football. They are a country of only 5.8 million people, and yet they have won the Euros before (in 1992 — another incredible story), and here they are in another semi-final.

Commuters in the 'singing' Danish shirt. Credit: @GeraintITV

Despite limited human resources, there’s also a commitment to playing entertaining, creative football.

This was perhaps best illustrated during the quarter-final against the Czech Republic. Joakim Mæhle is a right-footed full back who plays mostly down the left for his country. He used the outside of his right boot to send in a fizzing cross for Kasper Dolberg to volley into the net. Who needs a left-sided player on the left? Not Denmark.If Denmark win tonight, the party in Copenhagen will be especially big. The Danes have been reminded that human life can be a fragile thing, and its joyful moments are precious.

Watch England v Denmark live on ITV and ITV Hub on Wednesday 7 July - coverage begins from 6.30pm, kick off at 8pm