Former Denmark midfielder Thomas Helveg has maintained his innocence in the alleged ‘Nordic fix’ in Euro 2004.
Mass controversy erupted in Group C eight years ago as Italy became the first team to bow out with five points to their name, having drawn with both Scandinavian nations before beating Bulgaria.
However, despite their point tally, Sweden netted an 89th-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 with Denmark in their final group match, thereby putting Italy’s efforts in vain, and leading to speculation that Giovanni Trapattoni’s men were targeted.
Helveg told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “It was a real game. I wanted to take out the Swedes at all costs, there are centuries of rivalry between us. But I understand that in Italy there have been suspicions.
“Me, (Martin) Jorgensen and (Jon Dahl) Tomasson all felt the pressure. We played in Italy, and we wanted Denmark to go through, but we were also aware of the controversy that there would be if we played for a draw.”
Italy find themselves in a similar position two tournaments on, amid suspicions Croatia and Spain could also record a high-scoring draw, but Helveg does not envisage the reigning champions defending their title in such circumstances.
“I think La Roja will play to win (against Croatia), as they always do,” he said.
Italy round off their Euro 2012 group-stage campaign on Monday against Republic of Ireland.
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