John Jensen called Denmark's Euro 1992 triumph the greatest fairy tale in football
Jensen, 52, is a guest at the 25th anniversary celebration of the sensational upset at a friendly against final opponents Germany next Tuesday.
The midfielder, who scored the opening goal in the final, and then Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel were two of the heroes against the Germans.
But Denmark’s greatest story-teller Hans Christian Andersen might have rejected the whole adventure as too fantastic.
The tiny nation was only parachuted into the eight-team event at the last minute when war-torn Yugoslavia were booted out.
Players were hauled back from the beach into a group including England, France and Sweden at a week’s notice.
Denmark shocked the world when they beat Germany in the 1992 European Championship final
And legend Michael Laudrup was not even in the squad after a row with manager Richard Moller Nielsen. Late boss Moller-Nielsen only got the Denmark job because Germany’s Horst Wohlers failed to get a work permit.
But with a small pool of players Denmark edged out of the group, and then beat reigning European champions Holland on penalties in the semis after a thrilling 2-2 draw.
And then came the stunning 2-0 win over Germany in Gothenburg, Jensen’s 18th-minute bullet followed by Kim Vilfort’s late goal securing the title.
Jensen said: “It has to be the biggest football fairy tale of them all at international level in terms of winning a major tournament.
“That is both because of the size of the country and pool of players – and then also the bizarre circumstances, with a week’s notice.
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“We were ready to head for the beach for some beers, and watch the finals on TV.
“The only other story that comes close was Greece in 2004. No one thought we would get out of our group. It is still viewed now as a very, very special moment for the Denmark football team – but also the country.
“Whenever I go out shopping or am in a restaurant, even washing my car the other day, people say, ‘Thank you for that goal, I remember exactly where I was for that in 1992’.
“Some of those old enough to remember compared the feeling when we won to what it felt like when World War Two finished, and Denmark was liberated.
“They said that this victory created many of the same feelings of joy and happiness.”