Posted: 6/12/2011
Title: FULL HOUSE IN HERNING

Blog:                                                                                                                         

       It's pretty boring in Denmark! Sunday is boring, boring! I flew into Billund Airport in the middle of nowhere and had to wait 3 hours for a bus. Well it took me part way then dropped me off. Seventy minutes later the connecting bus showed up for Herning.

      At the station I asked what was open and was told -practically nothing! I dragged my wheely bag to the main street and saw and smelled a window full of rotisserie chicken and a sign: half a chicken and all you can eat salad bar. FANTASTIC! It was 3.00 pm. I walked in ready with my Danish Krone and was told. 'Sorry, we close at three but are open late Mondays!!!'

      This was the day that EURO Under 21 football was coming to Herning, Aalborg, Viborg and Arhus. There was a fan park but no fans. The Fox & Hounds Scottish Pub and every other cafe and pizzeria were almost empty. Back near the station I found a corner kiosk and ordered a huge ham pizza slice and an orange drink and waited in the train station for the 17.17 going north. Another long wait but in 3 minutes I was at Herning Stadion,next to The Messecenter, the largest exhibition centre in Scandinavia. I had my photo taken and received my UEFA accreditation pass. There was a superb press room,programmes, press releases, team sheets and a table loaded with food and hot drinks and a refrigerated case with Coca Cola, Fanta, fizzy and still water. HOWEVER, the beer case was locked until the full time whistle. No drunken press please!!

       The match was sold out with 9,000 tickets taken, mostly by Danes. Maybe 50 English fans and less from Spain. Everyone was so helpful and it was all well organized by UEFA and the DBU local officials and volunteers. www.uefa.com and www.dbu.dk The pitch was like a billiard table and I sat next to 2 young guys, Nicklas and Kresten in the press box and just before kick off Fabio Capello showed up, posed with us for a photo, and sat down just in front of us. Spain v England was the mouth watering match, and much was expected and anticipated from Stuart Pearce's young lion cubs and the toreadors fromthe  Iberian Peninsula. The national anthems, and of course Spain has one but no words, so the players have to hum or sing la,la,lala,la,la!

       Some news headline players out there. Phil Jones just bought for big bucks by Man Utd from Blackburn, and Jordan Henderson by Liverpool from Sunderland. The announcer asked us to stamp out racism, and England was doing it's part with 6 of the 11 starters black. Of course, the Spaniards don't have any black players but lots of racism at home, unfortunately. The England team was huge like their rugby team agianst the dainty looking opponents.  Red and black are the colours of the local club, Midtjytlland, The Wolves, who usually play here, and of course Spain play in similar colours.

       Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool, Everton, Spurs, Arsenal, with the captain Michael Mancienne with HSV Hamburg.  Barca, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Sporting Gijon...   Spain dominated and England struggled, but I was still impressed with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the middle of the All White clad defence.  Spain took a well deserved lead after 14 minutes from Ander Herrera, but it was dodgy and he handled it.  England never moved into top gear and in the second half made three substtutions with the highly rated Thom Cleverley in particular just a passenger.

      We thought it was all over, but in the 88th minute Danny Welbeck evened the score and the group is wide open. England were disappointing and their opponents were on cruise control and didn't use their overwhelming dominance to kill off the match.

       After the match, and before the press cononferences and mixed zone interviews the huge refrigerated glass case was unlocked and the Carlsberg special beer was available for the scribes. Denmark is not so boring after all!!

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