Contributed by: Ian Hill
On June 11th, 2005, Denmark and Sweden will clash for Scandinavian footy's bragging rights. The Swedish and Danish national sides have only met once before, in 1997, and the rivalry is set to become one of the hottest in international footy. In the wake of the dominant 1996 season by the Helsingborg Saints, then the only Swedish team in the Danish Australian Football League, the DAFL held an "international" match between Denmark and Sweden just prior to the 1997 season. It was effectively Helsingborg versus the rest of DAFL (and that was reflected in the Danish victory), but the make-up of footy in Scandinavia at the time meant it was also genuinely Denmark v Sweden, or Sweden v Denmark to be more precise as the match was held in Helsingborg, in snow to boot.
The Saints were never that powerful again and the experiment was never repeated. Fast forward eight years – DAFL had restructured itself with mixed results, but the one definite positive being that the near-defunct Helsingborg club of 2002 was re-born as a thriving three team division in Skåne (southern Sweden). In 2003 a club was emerging in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, and in 2004 finally a genuine league started in Stockholm. Obviously the opportunity was there to revive the Denmark versus Sweden concept.
And so it shall be! On Saturday, June 11, 2005 in the Copenhagen regional town of Farum, the Danish Vikings and the Swedish Elks will clash for the bragging rights to Scandinavian footballing superiority.
The match has been organized primarily to give the Vikings a chance to play as a team before the International Cup in Melbourne in August, and as such the experience gap will be closed by allowing the Elks to play a half-Australian half-Swedish team (the Vikings will have no Australians). With the advances made in Skåne this year, this decision by the Vikings' management could come back to haunt them. Nevertheless, a hard match is what Denmark needs and expects.
With these two neighbours now both playing footy, and with a healthy sporting rivalry already in place, a marvellous opportunity now exists for both countries to play regular internationals. There is no reason why a rivalry such as the one enjoyed by the USA and Canada could not be developed in the future.
World Footy News