Goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel believes Ireland can pull off a few shocks in Poland this summer. The Great Dane can’t wait for the Irish fans’ return to the European Championships especially as the Green Army will be pitching camp in the town where his father grew up.
To mark 100 days to Euro 2012, Póg Mo Goal took part in a live web-chat with the former Manchester United superstar and Carslberg ambassador Peter Schmeichel. Speaking at Carlsberg Headquarters in Denmark, the 1992 European Championship winner expressed his massive respect for the Republic’s achievement in returning to the continent’s top table for the first time since 1988.
With Irish fans expected to be amongst the biggest and most colourful support at the tournament which kicks off in June, the player twice voted World’s Best Goalkeeper sees similarities with his countrymen.
“I look at Ireland and Denmark in the same kind of way. We love these tournaments. We like to bring thousands and thousands of people with us and we’re very true to our supporters. We like to be part of them as well. We respect and we recognise that they’re there.”
Schmeichel’s father was born in Torun, Poland, where many Irish fans are basing themselves because of it’s central location between Poznan and Gdansk where the Republic’s group games take place. The Danish giant welcomes the return of Irish supporters to Europe’s football festival.
“You know I’ve just been told today that Ireland are camping. All the fans are camping in Torun where my Dad is from so good luck to the Irish and good luck to Torun. Ireland travel well; we only have to remember the World Cup in America.”
The man who saved a spot-kick from Marco Van Basten on the way to winning Euro ’92 in Sweden has nothing but admiration for Giovanni Trapattoni and believes Ireland’s opponents in Poland could be in for a rude awakening.
“The Irish team, they’ve got a great manager; they’ve got really really great players as well and the thing about them is you really don’t know what their level of performance will be and I think they could surprise quite a few teams once we get to the Euros.”
And if Ireland could match the achievement of the Danes by becoming European Champions?
“My favourite Euro memory is of course winning the final against Germany in 1992. You win a competition like that it’s going to be right up there with the best things you achieve in your life.”