Mayhem in Copenhagen, or, stick to shouting at the referee

Anyone who reads this site and the Guardian’s Football Unlimited site knows that I am really only providing the Reader’s Digest version of their work. However, since they don’t seem to have anything up still about an incident from a Euro 2008 qualifier last weekend, as discussed on their weekly podcast, I shall have to cut and paste from elsewhere:

Denmark fought back from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Sweden in a
Euro 2008 Group F qualifier on Saturday which was abandoned a minute
from time after a fan attacked referee Herbert Fandel.

Apparently it had been a hell of a game, and the crowd has been in a good mood — fueled by a boozy fan fest beforehand – until things got a little out of hand… specifically after Christian Poulsen gave someone a right punch in the gut, and was given a red card for it:

The controversy began moments earlier when Sevilla midfielder Poulsen
was shown a straight red card for punching Sweden striker Markus
Rosenberg in the stomach.
The visitors were also awarded a penalty, but the spot-kick was never
taken as the match ended in turmoil with the scores level at 3-3.
Poulsen has now asked for forgiveness for his part in the events.
‘I was involved in a tussle with the Swedish player, who I felt had
provoked me twice. I saw red and I hit him,’ said Poulsen.
‘I would like to apologise to my team-mates and the general public.
It’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever done.
‘(Denmark coach) Morten Olsen told me afterwards there’s no place on
this stage for this sort of thing and I have to agree. It happened at a
time when we’d pulled back Sweden’s lead and were in the driving seat.
I can’t condone it.’

The punch itself however was only the catalyst as an enraged Danish fan attempted to demonstrate via fisticuffs that he thought the red card was a poor decision:

The drunken Danish fan who attacked referee Herbert Fandel who then
abandoned Saturday’s Euro 2008 qualifier between Denmark and Sweden,
apologised to his countrymen for spoiling their chances of making it to
next year’s finals.
‘I so want to say I’m sorry to everyone in Denmark. I spoiled a
fantastic evening for so many,’ the 29-year-old Dane told Danish paper
Ekstra Bladet in an interview.
The man, identifed only as ‘R’ by the paper, cannot be named for legal
reasons but said at a court hearing he had drunk 15 to 18 beers before
the match and had little memory of the actual incident.
He did remember he was angered by Fandel handing a red card to
Denmark’s Chritian Poulsen and wanted to tell the referee his decision
to dismiss the player was ‘nonsense’.
Denmark had rallied from 3-0 down to 3-3 but the match was abandoned in
the 89th minute when he jumped over the low fence at the Parken Stadium
and headed straight for Fandel just after he awarded Sweden a late
penalty.
He then struck out at the referee, before he was fended off by Danish
players. He made it back to the stands before being seized by match
stewards and later police.

Being used to some quarters of the English press laughing off that sort of thing, I was a little taken aback at the Danish press reaction:


‘42,000 spectators were witnesses to Danish football’s black
day. A day where Denmark’s self-image as a restrained and decent
football crowd was jeopardised by a fool without self control,’ Jyllands-Posten wrote on Sunday.

Now I’m confused – isn’t this the same country that fielded my favorite thug player after Duncan “disorderly” Ferguson, the peerless Stig Tofting? Why are the supporters being held to a higher standard?

Anyway, it remains to be seen whether FIFA will forfeit the game to Sweden, recognize the draw, or schedule a replay. Presumably mystery fan “R” will remain in Sweden – for indeed that is where he is resident – and give the Danes a chance at finishing out the game…

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – D’mark 3-3 Sweden: Game abandoned after attack

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Poulsen contrite after Sweden mayhem

ESPNsoccernet – Euro 2008 – Danish fan regrets drunken attack on referee

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One Response

  1. Stig Toftig rules!!!! My favorite player in the 2002 World Cup, and with him and Jay Jay Okocha at Bolton in ’02-’03 as well as a dude sharing my surname, I actually dug Bolton for an ever so brief period of time {shhhhhh}.

    But then Stig went all gangsta back in Copenhagen and we hadn’t heard from him since.

    15-18 beers is damn impressive.

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