Denmark may be considered outsiders in the Star Sixes “Group of Death” this summer, but former Manchester United full-back John Sivebæk knows fairy tales can happen for the country that gave Hans Christian Andersen to the world.
The Danes are up against highly-fancied France, Germany and Portugal in the group stages of Star Sixes, the new 12-team six-a-side tournament for former internationals to be staged at The O2 in London from 13 to 16 July.
But, having been part of the Denmark side that defied the odds to become European Champions in 1992, Sivebæk knows anything can happen. After failing to qualify for EURO 92, the Danes were called back from their holidays to take part in the tournament when Yugoslavia were banned from competing because of civil war.
Denmark not only coped well at short notice, they surpassed all expectations by going on to lift the trophy, beating Germany in the final. So no wonder Sivebæk believes they can win Star Sixes.
“Anything can happen in football, as we proved in 1992,” he said.
“That was a fairy tale, unbelievable really. It was the same when Leicester City won the Premier League last season – no one expected it, but that doesn’t mean it is not possible.”
At 55, Sivebæk will be one of the oldest players in the tournament, and admits it will be tough with some of his opponents, such as Steven Gerrard and Robert Pirès, having retired recently.
However, Sivebæk, who won 87 caps for his country, says he regularly puts on his boots to stay sharp and fit.
And he is looking forward to taking part in such a star-studded tournament under the dome.
“I still play twice a week, and keep myself in pretty good shape. Age is just a number!” he continued.
“Besides, we have Daniel Jensen and Martin Jørgensen, who were still playing a year or two ago, so there are young legs in our side too.”
Sivebæk added: “It should be something special, with so many great names. It will also be a good chance to catch up with old friends, have fun and enjoy our football once again.”