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  Euro Stars    Jon Dahl Tomasson


Tomasson on the fringes at Milan but a giant for Denmark
Jon Dahl Tomasson
Jon Dahl Tomasson may be struggling to hold down a place in AC Milan's first team but he looks certain to lead Denmark's attack at Euro 2004.

Tomasson moved from Feyenoord to Italy's Serie A after the 2002 World Cup and has to compete for a place in the Milan line-up with Italian international Filippo Inzaghi and Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko.

The Danish striker spent most of last season on the bench but recently took advantage of Inzaghi's absence through injury to help the European champions win their 17th Serie A title.

"Now I am featuring in Serie A as well and I feel more valued here," the 27-year-old recently told the Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

There is no argument about Tomasson's record for Denmark -- 27 goals in 58 appearances -- including the winner against England in their 3-2 victory at Old Trafford in a friendly last November which made him his country's seventh highest scorer.

He made his international debut in 1997 as a substitute in a World Cup qualifier against Croatia but had to wait two years before scoring his first goal, in a 2-0 win over Wales.

He did not play in the 1998 World Cup in France, where Denmark reached the quarter-finals, but settled into the team after that tournament following the retirement of the brilliant Laudrup brothers, Brian and Michael.

Unlike the Laudrups, goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and many other great Danish players, Tomasson never played for Brondby.

He started a much-travelled professional career outside Denmark with Dutch first division club Heerenveen in 1994 before joining England's Newcastle United in 1997.

Tomasson struggled during his only season in the premier league, however, and moved back to the Netherlands with Feyenoord where he spent four seasons.

Tomasson's farewell match for Feyenoord was the 2002 UEFA Cup final when he scored a goal to help his side beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2.

He struck four of Denmark's five goals in the 2002 World Cup group stage, helping his team to pull off a shock 2-0 win over France before they lost 3-0 to England in the second round.

Despite his struggle to get into Milan's first team, Tomasson has enjoyed good times in Italy, scoring an injury-time winner against Ajax Amsterdam in last season's Champions League quarter-finals and several important goals in the league season just ended.

He missed Milan's victory over Juventus in the European Cup final last May through injury but continued to spearhead Denmark's qualification for Euro 2004 where they will face tough opposition from Bulgaria, Italy and Sweden in Group C next month.
- Per Bech Thomsen




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