Watching Denmark play Italy in Euro 2004 tonight took me back to 1992 when Denmark won the competition against all the odds, given that they didn’t even qualify and only got there because of the problems in Yugoslavia.
With perfect timing, we chose that moment to book a holiday in Kos, at the Norida Beach Hotel to be precise. Boy, was it hot! Some of the rooms had air-con — those occupied by German guests — but not ours. Imagine trying to keep two young children content in +90°, day and night.
And they had to be put to bed, so when the games were televised, I was upstairs in our room. But I could hear them blaring out from the tv in the bar downstairs. I could only watch by steadying a pair of binoculars on top of Nescafé tin, trained on the screen below.
With even more perfect timing, we left on the night of the final, being picked up in the early hours of the morning. We had to vacate our rooms and hang about through the evening. I had thought that I might get to watch the game on the bar’s tv, but when I went in, it was chocker, mostly with the aforementioned Teutons, and it was hot as hell, so we retired outside to dip our toes in the pool, oh yes, and to tie inflatable toys on the sun shades to fox the early rising Germans from bagging them the following day.
Anyway, as we waited in the darkness, the shouts and chatter from the distance was the backdrop. Then suddenly it went completely quiet for a second, followed a moment later by a lone and very English voice shouting: “Yesss!”
A smile and a warm feeling — Denmark had scored. A pleasant journey home, even after spilling a cup of coffee over my shorts on the plane. Like the anonymous shouter, I was more than delighted that the Danes had upset the odds.