If you think that Greece’s 2004 triumph is the most glorious, fairy-tale like win in the European Championship then you probably want to go back in 1992, when Denmark failed to qualify, but win the title in the end. After being given a week to practice, Denmark shocked the entire football world by beating the unified Germany in the final and lifting the trophy for the first time.
In 1992, the Danes had missed out on qualification having finished as runners-up to Yugoslavia in Group 4 of the qualification stage. However, Yugoslavia, in a state of civil war, was banned from participating in the tournament that gave Denmark the chance to qualify into the eight-team tournament and placed in a group featuring hosts Sweden, England and France.
Decades after the unprecedented disqualification, Former Yugoslavia star Slavisa Jokanovic has confessed that the team that Yugoslavia sent for the ‘92 Euros were much better than eventual winners Denmark. The former Watford and Fulham manager was then a key part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia team tipped by some to win Euro‘92.
“The current generation of players won’t play this summer but they’ll get the chance next year; we had the Euros taken away from us and never got it back. We had a much better side than Denmark. In the qualifiers we started with the complete old Yugoslavia but when we got to the finals we were already missing important players,” Jokanovic told in an interview.
They were due to play England in the group stage on June 11 but instead found themselves packing their bags on May 31, sent home by UEFA. “We lost a certain Darko Pancev (European Golden Shoe in 1991) to Croatia if you remember him. He had scored 10 goals in the qualifiers. Jokanovic added as he recallhis time with the national team.
“We could have done something big with the players we still had but a month earlier that team had been even stronger. It was a very ugly time. Teams didn’t want to play pre-tournament friendlies against us. A fortnight in, they banned us. The disappointment was enormous. We badly wanted to show what we could do but for political reasons we were heading back, feeling awful,” he added.
When asked about his potential top coach at both Fulham and Watfor, and his time in England, he said, “Last summer I had opportunities but none of those offers seemed right for me. I took the decision to come here to Doha. Would I like to go back to England? Yes I would. But cry and get depressed because I’m not there, that’s not me,’ he said.