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Denmark, without stars protesting pay dispute, hammered by Slovakia

Slovakia Denmark Soccer

Denmark’s keeper Christoffer Haagh lies on the ground after he received the second goal during a friendly soccer match between Slovakia and Denmark in Trnava, Slovakia, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Every player in Denmark’s squad are uncapped following a dispute between Denmark’s star players and the Danish Football Association. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)


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.