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Slovakia beat depleted Denmark after row sees salesman and student step in

The likes of Christian Eriksen, Andreas Christensen and Kasper Schmeichel, among others, are refusing to sign a new agreement with Denmark.

Denmark fell to a 3-0 friendly defeat in Slovakia after being forced to select a starting XI of futsal and Danish lower league players.

The visitors were left with a severely weakened team after a dispute between the Danish Football Association (DBU) and their players over commercial image rights.

The likes of Christian Eriksen, Andreas Christensen and Kasper Schmeichel, among others, are refusing to sign a new agreement with the national team.

Full-time manager Age Hareide was also absent, and temporarily replaced by John Jensen, who revealed he previously knew nothing about those in his squad.

We may be crooks for someone, but we're heroes to others, and that's all right Christoffer Haagh, goalkeeper

Among those in Denmark’s line-up were Christian Offenberg, a salesman, and student Simon Vollesen, as their lone striker and right-back respectively.

Speaking after the game, goalkeeper Christoffer Haagh, who plays futsal for Denmark, said he and a few teammates chose to join the squad “to be on the safe side” and avoid sanction for the national team – but now risk punishment by the DBU.

“We were a few from the futsal team who chose to make us available to avoid any sanctions against DBU in general and the various national teams, so it was to be on the safe side, so nothing happened,” he said in comments reported by Danish news agency Ritzau.

“We have gone here to prevent it from affecting football Denmark and futsal Denmark. We may be crooks for someone, but we’re heroes to others, and that’s all right.”

Christian Bannis, an insurance adviser, stressed they had stepped in to represent Denmark and not the DBU or Denmark’s Player Association, which is also in dispute with the national team.

“We have tried to deal with it neutrally and do not take a party,” he told Ritzau.

Denmark’s amateur players pose for the team photo (AP/Ronald Zak)

If the circumstances had tempted Slovakia coach Jan Kozak to experiment with his team he ultimately resisted, and instead ensured Marek Hamsik, Vladimir Weiss and captain Martin Skrtel played from kick-off.

He was rewarded with a goal in the 11th minute through Adam Nemec when, following a confident start, Juraj Kucka sent a cross into the penalty area and, from close range, the striker headed beyond goalkeeper Christoffer Haagh.

Hamsik had already threatened by then and did so again shortly before Albert Rusnak doubled the hosts’ lead, when Kucka found him in the area in the 36th minute and he sent a right-footed finish into the bottom left corner.

Victory already appeared a near-certainty, and was taken beyond doubt in the 79th minute with Adam Fogt’s own goal.

As Denmark tired, Robert Mak found space on the left to cross into the area, from where Kastrup BK’s Fogt sliced into his own net.

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