Denmark was handed arguably the toughest draw at Euro 2012, joining Portugal, Holland, and Germany in Group B. The Danes were unable to advance to the knockout stages, but their effort and performances earned them respect even in defeat.
With each nation occupying a spot in the top ten of FIFA’s global rankings, Group B was quickly dubbed the “Group of Death” — guaranteeing an early exit for two of the tournament’s heavyweights.
Undaunted, Denmark got off to a strong start. Michael Krohn-Delhi‘s early strike gave the Danes a surprise 1-0 victory over Holland in its opening game and inspired many Danes to dream of moving on to the knockout stages.
Denmark’s second game was a glass-case of emotion. Portugal jumped out to a 2-0 lead, only to see Nicklas Bendtner score twice, with the equalizer coming in the 80th minute. A point would have put the Danes within inches of advancing but, in a cruel twist of fate, Portugal’s Silvestre Varela came off the bench to score a late winner.
The loss to Portugal put Denmark in a precarious qualifying position to begin with, but a loss to Germany in its final game officially sent the Danes home. Krohn-Delhi added another to his tournament tally, but it wasn’t enough to overcome German strikes by Lukas Podoloski and Lars Bender.
Although a group stage exit is always a disappointment, the Danes’ committed performances and beautiful fans were enough for us to salute them on their way out the door. You can also enjoy pictures of other countries’ fans in our round-up of Euro 2012 fan photo galleries.