Farce Threatens UEFA Nations League

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar September 6, 2018 19:59

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Farce Threatens UEFA Nations League

By Satish Sekar in Cardiff City Stadium

Kick Off

No quarter will be asked for or given by Wales and the Republic of Ireland tonight in the first match of their UEFA Nations League Group which also includes Denmark. The presence of the latter threatens to undermine the integrity of the competition and condemn it to farce.

Denmark had to rely on lower league and futsal players in their 3-0 loss to Slovakia last night. They look set to have to rely on them again to fulfil the fixture against Wales on Sunday. An unseemly dispute over image rights has seen top stars, including Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen and Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel pull out of a team that will not even have regular Denmark manager, Åge Hareide on the bench unless a solution can be found.

Yesterday, Denmark’s third team, managed by former Arsenal star and scorer of the iconic championship winning goal in Denmark’s only European Championship John Jensen – a tournament they only participated in due to a late ban on Yugoslavia – were beaten 3-0 by Slovakia. Jensen described the lower league and futsal players as ‘24 heroes.’ He said that ‘it was the best defeat of his career.

Unfair

Denmark face Wales in their first Nations League match on Sunday with the Republic of Ireland that Wales will have an ‘unfair’ advantage if the contact dispute between the Danish Players Union and Federation rumbles on.

“UEFA probably will [step in] if that’s the case and it develops in the direction it looks to be going,” O’Neill told journalists yesterday. “I think they have to make some sort of statement about it. If it does develop like that, there will certainly be a degree of unfairness about it and I think everyone would accept that’s the case.”

It had shown no sign of ending yesterday – stand-in manager Jensen didn’t even know the names of some of the players.

“If they do not play the top players, you mentioned earlier about players playing from the lower divisions, it would give a massive advantage to the opposition,” O’Neill said. “It would reflect badly on the competition itself. I haven’t seen anything like that before. It’s pretty extraordinary.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar September 6, 2018 19:59