Denmark began their build-up to UEFA Women's EURO 2013 with second place in the strong City of Sao Paulo International Tournament behind hosts Brazil but ahead of Portugal.
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Denmark began their build-up to UEFA Women's EURO 2013 with second place in the strong City of Sao Paulo International Tournament behind hosts Brazil.
A 5-0 defeat of Mexico, 0-0 draw against Portugal and 2-1 loss to Brazil took Denmark to the final against the home side. The game ended 2-2 but Brazil pipped Denmark to the title for the second year running having won their group encounter.
Mexico were no easy early opposition having held England at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup. However, Denmark produced one of their best performances of recent years and were three up after 20 minutes through Line Røddik Hansen's penalty and further goals from Johanna Rasmussen and Pernille Harder. Sanne Troelsgaard added a fourth before the break and captain Katrine Pedersen completed the scoring.
Next up were Portugal, who had lost 4-0 to Brazil and who Denmark had beaten in all 14 previous encounters. Despite Denmark's dominance, Portugal held on and celebrated the impressive draw like a victory, giving them hope ahead of 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying next autumn.
At this point Denmark were a point ahead of Brazil and Mexico – who had surprisingly beaten the hosts 2-1. However, Denmark were unable to make the most of their first-half dominance following Érika's opening goal for Brazil. Débora added another in the last minute to ensure Line Røddik Hansen's added-time strike was only a consolation, but Portugal beat Mexico 1-0 to ensure Denmark finished second on goal difference.
Last year in the final Denmark went down 2-1 to Brazil, just as in the group game this time, and were soon two down. However, Rasmissen's penalty reduced arrears and after after the break Sofie Junge headed Denmark level, though they were unable to fashion a winner to the frustration of coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller.
"Of course I am annoyed that we did not win the match and that we only finished second in spite of this draw," he told dbu.dk. "However, I am proud of the performance the players put on, and of the spirit they showed today by coming back from 2-0 down. In the last 25 minutes, it was actually us who controlled the game. Even though I am annoyed that a world-class save by the Brazilian goalkeeper kept us from winning the tournament, we go home for our Christmas holiday satisfied."
His side begin 2013 with two training camps before travelling to the Algarve Cup from 6 to 13 March, where Germany, Norway and Japan await in their group. After further friendlies against the Netherlands, Russia and Iceland, they begin the finals against hosts Sweden in Gothenburg on 10 July before further Group A fixtures versus Italy and Finland.