Ryan Giggs is preparing for Wales to enter the unknown against a Denmark side consisting of lower-league and futsal players.
Denmark’s preparations for their UEFA Nations League opener against Wales in Aarhus on Sunday are in chaos following a dispute between the Danish football Association and their Players’ Association.
The Danes are set to field an uncapped scratch side consisting of third-tier and futsal players, the latter being an indoor five-a-side game played with a harder and smaller ball.
“What sort of team we’re going to face I don’t know,” Wales manager Giggs said ahead of his pre-match press conference for their inaugural Nations League tie against the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on Thursday.
“There’s a bit of me that thinks they’ll sort it out, but every day that looks more and more unlikely.
“But I’ve got a big game against Ireland first and all my concentration is on that.”
Denmark are ranked ninth in the world and reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia this summer.
But players like Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen and Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel are set to sit out the Wales game because of a row over the players’ commercial rights.
Instead, Denmark have named a squad of part-time players drawn from Danish clubs such as Avarta, Kastrup, Skovshoved and Vanlose.
“It’s very unusual and it’s obviously not ideal,” Giggs said.
“As a footballer you just want to play football but if you feel you’re not getting a good deal you want to get it. You think it would have been sorted by now, but it’s not.
“The problem the Danish Federation have got is that they’ve got to put out some sort of team because they could be banned for four years if they don’t.
“What do they do? The Super League teams aren’t releasing their players, so they’ve got a real dilemma. But whatever happens about Sunday, I’ll deal with that after the Ireland game.”
🗣"It's an exciting format and it's good for the fans."— FA WALES (@FAWales) September 4, 2018
🏴 @GarethBale11 calls on #TheRedWall to give the squad the extra energy they need on the pitch as Wales take on the Republic of Ireland.
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The Denmark turmoil has overshadowed Giggs’ first home game as Wales manager and a reunion between two teams who met in a do-or-die World Cup qualifier last October.
The Republic ended Wales’ qualification hopes by winning that Cardiff clash 1-0 before losing to Denmark in a play-off the following month.
“It’s a proud moment for me and I’m very excited,” said Giggs, who has overseen friendlies in China and the United States since his appointment in January.
“But we know it’s going to be a tough game. The Republic have not been beaten in their last six competitive away games and we know what we’re up against.
“We know it’s a team that is going to work hard and make it difficult for us.
“There’s more pressure being my first competitive game but I want my teams to be hard to beat and play attractive football.”
Giggs has reported a full-strength Wales squad with Gareth Bale fit and firing after scoring in Real Madrid’s opening three La Liga games.
Contrary to reports in Spain, which emerged on Tuesday, the deal did not involve the now Manchester United manager accepting a one-year suspended prison sentence.
A case had been opened against the Portuguese coach last year, which alleged former Real boss Mourinho owes the Spanish state nearly £2.9million in undeclared revenue related to image rights in 2011 and 2012 – a claim which has been strenuously denied by his representatives.
On November 3, 2017, Mourinho made a brief appearance before a judge at a court in Madrid, and said as he left courthouse he had paid everything he owed to Spanish tax authorities.
On Tuesday, Madrid-based media outlet El Mundo reported that a deal had now been reached which will see the case closed, with the 55-year-old accepting a fine of around £1.8million as well as two six-month suspended sentences, one for each tax fraud case.
Under Spanish law, a judge can suspend sentences which are two years or less for first-time offenders.
Press Association Sport understands from a source with knowledge of the case any form of suspended prison sentence has not been handed out or accepted as part of the agreement, which had been reached more than two months ago. A fine will be paid.
A brief statement from the Spanish Attorney General Office when contacted on Tuesday read: “The Office of the Prosecutor does not comment on this report that affects Jose Mourinho.”
There was no comment from Manchester United on what is regarded a private matter. Mourinho’s representatives Gestifute Media were also approached for comment.
The allegations against Mourinho are part of a wider crackdown by the Spain authorities against tax fraud, with several leading figures in football having been investigated – including Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi and former Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Mourinho guided Real Madrid to the 2011/12 La Liga title, returning to manage Chelsea after leaving the Bernabeu in June 2013 before taking over at Old Trafford in May 2016.
Commenting on the allegations against the United boss in June, Gestifute Media said at the time: “Jose Mourinho, who lived in Spain from June 2010 until May 2013, paid more than 26 million euros in taxes, with an average tax rate over 41 per cent, and accepted the regularisation proposals made by the Spanish tax authorities in 2015 regarding the years of 2011 and 2012 and entered into a settlement agreement regarding 2013.
“The Spanish government in turn, through the tax department, issued a certificate in which it attested that he had regularised his position and was in compliance with all his tax obligations.”
Schmeichel expects Modric, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid and led Croatia to the final of the World Cup, to edge out his rivals and claim the award, as he did for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award which was announced last week.
“Luka Modric was so incredibly good in every department of how you have to judge a good player,” the Danish ex-goalkeeper said.
“First of all his history is incredible. The story that he can tell from when he was a young kid and what he has done with his football career, it makes him an interesting guy.
“But what he did in the World Cup, together with the coach and his teammates, in producing this amazing result for Croatia is just incredible.
“He was scoring goals, he was creating goals, he was fighting. He was just an incredible player in that period.”
Quotes taken from Peter Schmeichel’s interview with CNN.