Kim Milton Nielsen’s column: Euro 2016 and a lost invite from David...

Kim Milton Nielsen’s column: Euro 2016 and a lost invite from David Beckham!

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    Kim Milton Nielsen

    As we await the Euro 2016 draw on 12th December, Denmark will of course be missing thanks to our aggregate defeat to our next door neighbours, Sweden.

    We had hoped that Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger would stop Zlatan. as they did Cristiano Ronaldo when Denmark played Portugal in October, but it was not to be.

    Kasper Schmeichel continues to prove what a strong goalkeeper he is, both for us and in the Premier League, while our ‘goals against’ column gave us good reason to look forward to the Play-Offs, only ultimately to underline our ongoing problems when it comes to scoring.

    Sadly, you need goals to win matches and Nicklas Bendtner is currently only good enough for the bench at Wolfsburg. By the time he was replaced by Morten Rasmussen we were all but beaten.

    I was there in the Parken Stadium, and if you heard boos on the night I can assure you they were not directed at Martin Atkinson, who I took to lunch and spoke to afterwards in the dressing room. The crowd was far more concerned with the performance of the Danish team than that of the team of officials, who I think did a good job.

    So the Morten Olsen era comes to an end and we need a new coach. My best personal memory of Morten was the gift of flowers and card he sent me when I retired myself, thanking me for my co-operation. Believe me, he will stay as a Danish legend both as a player and a coach.

    Personally, I think the previous Euro finals with four groups of four teams was the best of all the formats they have tried. Don’t forget the first five Euros were contested by only four teams each.

    So, while I look forward to visiting the finals in France and gaining experience with such a large tournament, I think 24 teams could be too many, while I will tip a referee of our own, Jakob Kehlet, currently one of our two semi-professional referees, not to feature until the 2020 edition.

    I watched the UNICEF game at Old Trafford on TV and it would have been funny if Mr Beckham had invited me to take part… funny except for the weather from what I could see!

    As a GB & Ireland XI played a Rest of the World XI for such a good cause, Pierluigi Collina refereed the first half and although we are still communicating with each other it reminded me that one of the worst things about refereeing at the highest level is that once you have stopped it is sometimes difficult to stay in touch with your international colleagues.

    The idea of charity games and testimonial games has never won the heart of the Danish spectator, so there is no game like this I have ever been invited to referee.

    However, there is an online charity auction in December which is offering me to the highest bidder and some helpful people suggested I set a limit of 100km or so from my home. At this point I insisted the prize should be for me to referee a match anywhere in Denmark, between any teams, as we are only a small country!

    I was also proud to be associated with the Homeless World Cup, until the commitment proved too much, given my obligations back when I was a director of Roskilde FC and the Brazil edition came around in 2010.

    The whole thing started in Graz in 2003, and my first one was in Denmark in 2007, then I took part in Melbourne and Milan. It was great to be involved because the sheer excitement of the players meant that the atmosphere really was special.

    Good luck in that draw!

    Vi ses

    Kim