Danish Women Got Game
One of the most powerful stories of the round of 32 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) 2016/17 is the defeat Fortuna Hjørring inflicted on the Athletic Bilbao’s players.
The Danish talents move on after the extra time with an aggregate score of 4-3, winning the second leg 3-1 at home. A great representation of the post-modern incarnation of women’s football, the match acted like a magnet, attracting all the particles of a great sport: drama, uncertainty and coups de foudre.
WATCH THE FULL MATCH FOR FREE:
The encounter was defined by a chemistry made of mud and sweat ignited by the undeniable realization that this was a pristine taste of football fun. In a newborn century trying to move its first steps towards a new gender revolution, and yet still framed but skepticism and discrimination, events of this nature send a powerful message to the fans who are willing to listen and those who are pretending not to hear: (Danish) women got game.
Fortuna Hjørring’s Origins and Legacy
Hjørring is a small town placed in Northern Denmark, the main center of a municipality that carries the same name. Its 24.000 citizens live surrounded by green landscapes, a whisper away from the majestic presence of the North Sea. Founded as a market hub almost 800 years ago, Hjørring is one of the oldest towns in Denmark. The pride of its people runs deep like the roots connecting the human race to this ancient land, which has been inhabited for thousands of years. Instead of acting as a scarecrow for progress, however, this pride has propelled many out of a dangerous isolation and towards a present made of open-mindedness.
Respect for culture, health and the environment has become a pillar of the community and football has taken over as an expression of this dogma. This is why, for more than 30 years, Hjørring has hosted the Dana Cup, which is defined by the organizers as “the world’s best and most international youth soccer tournament” (Dana Cup Website, 2016. Available at http://www.danacup.com/index.php/en/vision-and-values, accessed on 13/10/16), with over 20.000 boys and girls ready to show their talent every summer. This is also why the town is the birthplace of one of the most highly respected women’s football teams in Europe: Fortuna Hjørring. Founded in 1966, the club has collected nine Danish League titles (including the 2015/16 title) and eight Danish Women’s Cups, reaching the final of the UEFA Women’s Cup (now known as the UEFA Women’s Champions League) in 2003.
Battles, Highlights and Openness
In the spirit of the openness that characterizes the citizens of its hometown, in the last few years the club has decided to trace a definitive bridge between its players and its fans by opening an online thematic channel. This is a place for the locals to meet in a virtual living room dedicated to their favorite team, a window onto a section of the Danish world that would otherwise remain mostly hidden from the rest of Europe.
The tool is free to access, offers the live broadcasting of contents, including matches and highlights, and can be embedded in social media channels and websites. It was here that the UEFA Women’s Champions League drama enfolded and it is here that every week the lovers of the beautiful game can take some time off their daily routines to enjoy the battles of these Danish warriors.
Rivalries and Players to Watch
Fortuna Hjørring is one of the dominant forces in the 3F Liga (also known as Elitedivisionen), which is among the top eight European leagues according to the UEFA ranking. The other protagonist of the most important women’s football competition in Demark is the Brøndby IF. In fact, while Fortuna won the 3F Liga title in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2016, Brøndby traced its path to glory in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. In other words, in the last 14 years, no other Danish team has been able to step between the two contenders: this is certainly one of the most heated rivalry in the landscape of women’s football. To make this even more dramatic, the first matchup between the two sides in their 2016/17 campaign ended with a 2-2 draw, the result of a fight that was ultimately defined during the extra time by a cross made by the goalkeeper.
THE CROSS BY Maria Christensen
Maria Christensen , Fortuna’s goalkeeper, had a serious injury last year but she fought her way back: this was a very special moment for her. She now wears a protective helmet and remains one of the players to watch, as she demonstrates in the video above. Another footballer we should all follow as one of the best of this year’s UWCL is the forward Camilla Kur Larsen, who plays for the Danish national team and was able to score 5 goals in a single game. It happened this season against Varde IF.
MATCH AND HIGHLIGHTS VS. VARDE IF
Towards The Future, Today
From a small town by the North Sea to the UWCL final running down to the win against the Athletic Bilbao, the journey of the Fortuna Hjørring has been an exciting one and it is far from being over. It is hard to accurately depict the love for the game its players express every time they step on the pitch: this is a special group ready to surprise, the embodiment of a culture that embraced the future in the present moment choosing to swim against the current. Fortuna is a point of reference for those who wish to better understand the women’s football planet and an example for the skeptics who still discuss whether or not technology and sport will ever even be able to marry and live happily ever after. With its online channel, ethos and commitment, the club has righteously earned its place among the most charming realities in today’s sports reaching out for the future… today.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.