- The Danish Dynamite overcame Argentina's star-studded ensemble in the final of the 1995 King Fahd Cup
- Peter Rasmussen scored the winner on the break
- The striker netted his only international goals at the tournament
Winning two international tournaments in three years is a remarkable achievement for any nation. When the nation in question boasts a population of only five million, as Denmark did in the early 1990s, then the feat rightly takes on legendary status. Peter Rasmussen was the hero to those five million inhabitants in 1995, scoring two decisive goals – his only international ones – en route to glory in sweltering Riyadh.
Plenty remember Denmark's remarkable, against-all-odds UEFA EURO 1992 triumph, but fewer recall that the European champions then failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™, the Danes missing out narrowly on goal difference.
That was certainly one reason why Denmark – despite being European champions – were not considered favourites ahead of the final of the 1995 King Fahd Cup against Argentina. La Albiceleste boasted a squad that included Javier Zanetti, Gabriel Batistuta and Ariel Ortega, while most of the Danes' play went through the Laudrup brothers, Brian and Michael.
Michael, the captain, put Denmark ahead after eight minutes, but was withdrawn midway through the first half, at which point Argentina took control and began to throw everything at Richard Moller Nielsen's side in an attempt to restore parity.
The decisive goal
It was little surprise, therefore, that the decisive goal came on the break. With 15 minutes to play, Brian Laudrup beat two defenders on the left near the halfway line and drove towards the area, cutting the ball back perfectly to the edge of the box, where Rasmussen was arriving. The striker shimmied past the onrushing Argentinian keeper, Carlos Bossio, and shot high into the empty net with his left foot.
It was perhaps the highest point of Rasmussen's career: the Hobro native turned out largely for Aalborg (AAB) in Denmark, a club only 40 minutes away from his birthplace. He developed into a fine goalscorer at AAB, although failed to show that instinct in his one venture abroad: Rasmussen managed to score once in 16 appearances over two seasons with Stuttgart in Germany's Bundesliga between 1989 and 1991.
As a result, the striker was never able to hold down a place in his national side. Rasmussen only made 13 appearances for Denmark, scoring both his international goals at the 1995 King Fahd Cup (the first was a vital equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Mexico in the group stage). Indeed, 1995 proved a memorable year for Rasmussen, who won the Danish title with AAB for the first and only time a few months later.
"I loved football, but enjoyed the limelight less. I was quiet, introverted and generally quite bad in interviews."
"When we were coming under increasing pressure in the second half, we had a chance on the counter-attack. I set it up by running in behind and squaring the ball to Peter Rasmussen, who scored the decisive goal. It was great teamwork."
In the build-up to the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, FIFA.com will be taking a fortnightly trip down memory lane to remember a decisive strike to have lit up the competition.
Next up: How a football legend found the net to inspire his side to a first-ever triumph in a FIFA competition.