Laursen could be forgiven, then, for feeling that Nordsjaelland is owed at least a shred of the credit score for Denmark’s success this summer season: Its 2-1 victory in opposition to the Czech Republic on Saturday despatched the nation to the semifinal of a serious match for the primary time since 1992.
“I think of it like Noma, the restaurant,” he stated. “At first, nobody thought foraging their own food would work. But it did what it believed in, and after a while, people started to appreciate it.”
Soccer finds this type of reverse-engineered clarification compelling, bordering on irresistible. It takes what seems, at first, to be an unsettlingly opaque type of success — an unheralded crew immediately coalescing and crystallizing into one thing formidable — and transforms it right into a story, one with a starting, a center and an finish, one with an inside logical construction.
The attraction is clear: It means there’s a recipe that may be adopted, a way that may be packaged, a end result that may be replicated. All you want is a crew to institute the identical type of ideas as Nordsjaelland — a deal with and a perception in youth; an emphasis on fashion as a vector for victory; a global outlook, as manifested within the collaboration with Right to Dream, an academy with its roots in Ghana that purchased the membership six years in the past — and, in time, your nationwide crew, too, will discover itself two video games away from continental glory.
Laursen is aware of that’s magical pondering. While he sees Denmark’s renaissance as vindication for Nordsjaelland’s work — the membership, he stated, thinks of itself as a “university,” one of the best place for youngsters to finish their training in order that they’re able to exit into the world, an account that Damsgaard, now with the Italian membership Sampdoria, has endorsed — he doesn’t faux that it has modified Danish soccer.
Nordsjaelland, he stated, remains to be an outlier: youthful than most of its opponents, with a much less “tactical, physical” fashion, much less more likely to place appreciable emphasis on set items. His hope is that its position in Denmark’s success can result in a “breakthrough in the Danish consciousness.” But he is aware of that Nordsjaelland couldn’t be a beneficiary if it was additionally the trigger.