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Former Denmark forward apologizes for Copenhagen episode

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OSLO, Norway (AP) Former Denmark international Niklas Bendtner has apologized for an episode over the weekend in which a cab driver in Copenhagen reportedly broke his jaw.

The Rosenborg forward says he had been “involved in a very unpleasant situation at around 2 a.m. Sunday. I am of course extremely sorry about that the outcome.”

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Bendtner’s lawyer told Danish media that his client is innocent of any wrongdoing. The cab company says it has handed a video of the episode over to the police.

Bendtner’s girlfriend said on Instagram that the player had acted in self-defense after a quarrel over the fare.

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Denmark’s first choice players will face Wales after agreement to meet

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A pay dispute that kept Premier League stars Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, and Jannik Vestergard out of the Denmark squad for a friendly against Slovakia has been resolved before the Danes kick off their first UEFA Nations League match.

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Denmark had to scramble together a team with fourth-tier, fifth-tier, and futsal players for a 3-0 loss to Slovakia. Tickets for the match cost about a dollar in Slovakia.

The embarrassing incident has led to a “step in the right direction,” which is an agreement between players and the federation to meet regarding the commercial rights/image dispute. From the BBC:

Danish FA president Jesper Moller said: “We can play the important Nations League match with the right national team and again focus on the sport.”

The Danish governing body and players association say neither party will make any more comment on the issue before the match.

The players’ continued boycott threatened to cost Denmark its chance to advance in a Nations League group with Wales and the Republic of Ireland. Wales blasting Ireland in the opener, and getting another three points in Denmark next week would give Ryan Giggs‘ and Gareth Bale‘s side a foot in League A for 2020-21.

Denmark, without stars protesting pay dispute, hammered by Slovakia

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TRNAVA, Slovakia (AP) Denmark, fielding a severely weakened team containing footballers from the third tier of the national league because of a pay dispute involving its best players, was beaten 3-0 by Slovakia in a friendly on Wednesday.

Slovakia strolled to victory against a Danish side lacking star names like Christian Eriksen and Kasper Schmeichel.

Organizers dropped ticket prices to 1 euro ($1.16) because of the depleted visiting team.

Slovakia, which fielded top performers like Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik and former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, said before the game that its squad had been harmed by the Danish dispute and asked European football’s governing body UEFA to deal with the case, and confer “adequate consequences”.

The home side went ahead when forward Adam Nemec beat Denmark goalkeeper Christoffer Haagh, who is a futsal player, with a header in the 11th minute.

Albert Rusnak made it 2-0 in the 37th minute before substitute Adam Fogt put through his own net with 11 minutes left.

Negotiations collapsed between the Danish footballers’ union and the national federation (DBU) over a new collective bargaining agreement regarding commercial rights, and players from the original squad were sent back to their club teams on Monday.

The previous collective bargaining agreement expired on July 31 and the two parties have been unable to agree a new one.

It remains to be seen what sort of team Denmark will field in its opening UEFA Nations League game at home to Wales on Sunday. Slovakia begins its campaign in Ukraine on the same day.

Denmark scrambles together new squad, coach amid pay dispute

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) Denmark scrambled together a new squad and an interim coach on Tuesday to fulfil the national team’s obligations for upcoming matches against Slovakia and Wales amid a pay dispute involving its best players.

Former Denmark midfielder John Jensen will take charge for the friendly with Slovakia in Bratislava on Wednesday, the Danish soccer association said. Denmark coach Age Hareide has reportedly returned to his native Norway.

The names of the players will be published later Tuesday. They are set to come from the country’s lower leagues, with Danish media reporting some futsal players could also be called up.

Negotiations have collapsed between Denmark’s players’ union and the DBU over a new collective agreement regarding commercial rights, meaning players from the original squad – including Christian Eriksen and Kasper Schmeichel – were sent back to their clubs on Monday.

Denmark plays Wales in a UEFA Nations League group game on Sunday.

“We must field teams in the two international matches to avoid millions in fines and possible exclusion of the national team for several years,” said Kim Hallberg, the federation’s elite manager. “On behalf of the DBU and Danish football, I am pleased that John Faxe Jensen has taken the hard task of being coach for both matches.”

Jensen, a member of Denmark’s European Championship-winning team in 1992, said he was helping out to “mitigate the negative consequences.”

“Where we are now,” Jensen said, “I see only losers in the conflict, and Danish football loses most of all.”

The previous collective agreement between the players and the federation expired on July 31 and the two parties haven’t been able to agree on a new one.

The union says players want sponsorship deals made by the federation to continue to focus on the team and not individual players. The federation said it has offered improved terms and met a “large number of the players’ wishes in the commercial areas,” adding that the current situation was “serious and annoying.”

“We need to solve this conflict now,” Eriksen said, “not just dig the trenches deeper.”

The players are offering to extend the previous contract for another month to allow for more negotiations.

“Together we enter the deal and we all save the face of Danish football,” the playmaker added. “We are right here and we want to play football for Denmark as always.”

Last year, Denmark’s women’s team signed a four-year collective bargaining agreement with the federation, ending a dispute that saw the cancellation of a World Cup qualifier.

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USMNT prospect Amon scores first Europa League goal (video)

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South Carolina-born Jonathan Amon isn’t likely to be thrilled with the result, but may find comfort in knowing he’s joined select American company by scoring in a UEFA senior tournament.

Amon entered Thursday’s Europa League second leg for Nordsjaelland against Partizan Belgrade with his Danish side trailing in the match and tie, and the left wing made his presence felt with a timely tap-in.

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The match marked his 12th appearance for Nordsjaelland, and his third goal to go with three assists.

Amon joined Nordsjaelland in 2017, and signed a new contract with the club this summer.