European Championship Classics – Denmark, 1984
Memories can be very subjective things, meaning that we often diminish the impact of the partner we had immediately before the one true love.
It’s understandable, obviously, so you can get why the affection for Denmark’s 1986 kits means that the others worn during that decade are somewhat forgotten. That ‘Danish Dynamite’ side really came into the public consciousness in Mexico, but the foundations had been laid in the previous tournament.
The country had only ever reached the latter stages of a major competition once before, losing to the USSR in the semi-finals of the 1964 European Nations Cup, as it was then known, so reaching the Euro 84 finals was a big deal.
A notable change to the country’s kit for the tournament in France was the addition of contrasting sleeves by manufacturers Hummel. The change kit was worn in the opening game, a defeat to the host country, but Denmark qualified for the semi-finals thanks to wins over Yugoslavia and Belgium while wearing their first-choice strip.
That meant a last-four clash with Spain, who, as they would in 1986, proved to be the Danish party poopers. With Spain in red, Denmark had to change and, to increase the level of contrast, the home shorts were used as they exited the tournament on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
The autumn of 1984 saw Denmark begin the campaign that would result in the country qualifying for the World Cup for the first time. In a group comprising the Danes, the USSR, Switzerland, Norway and the Republic of Ireland, 16 of the 20 games would see red shirts versus white, with the other four – Ireland’s home matches – featuring green v white. In fact, Ireland would end up wearing different shirts in each of their eight games.
Having begun with a home win over Norway, Denmark’s first away game was against Switzerland in October 1984 and they wore the change shirts with red shorts. However, we must assume that the large amounts of red and white proved troublesome, as that was the last time that kit was used.
In the interim, the foundations were laid for qualification, with the home kit worn in the magnificent 4-2 win at home to the USSR in June 1985.
Denmark’s second away game in the group wouldn’t be until September of that year, when they went to Moscow for the return game against the Soviet Union. This time, they were in a new all-white strip, essentially the same design as the new Tottenham Hotspur home kit but with red trim rather than navy.
While they lost 1-0 to the USSR and then drew 0-0 at home to Switzerland, Denmark won their final two games, 5-1 in Norway and 4-1 in Ireland, while wearing the white kit to secure top spot and qualify for Mexico.