The smallest venue at the Euros could nevertheless produce some of the biggest drama as Copenhagen gets set to stage four games this summer. Group B is expected to be dominated by the world’s top-ranked team Belgium, but Denmark, Finland and Russia will be scrapping it out to progress to the last-16 alongside the pre-tournament favourites.
Parken Stadium was built in 1992 on the site of Københavns Idrætspark, a 79-year-old ground that was falling apart. The new ground also came with the formation of a new football team in F.C. Copenhagen, a club that saw two sides – KB and B1903 – merge into one. Parken is a multi-purpose venue that has staged numerous music concerts, Eurovision and Speedway over the past three decades, and was recently a Covid-19 testing centre for Copenhagen residents. Parken is famed for its retractable roof, while its 38,000 capacity can increase to 55,000 for pop concerts.
Denmark lost to Germany 2-1 in a friendly match to officially open the stadium in 1992 and two years later Parken hosted the European Cup Winners’ Cup final between Arsenal and Parma. Arsenal returned for the 2000 UEFA Cup final, which they lost to Galatasaray, and the ground has been the home of the Denmark national team ever since it opened.
This summer Parken will stage three Group B games, along with the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg. Denmark host Finland in their opening match of the competition on 12 June and also welcome Belgium and Russia to their capital city. The stadium is scheduled to host one round-of-16 tie on 28 June between the runners-up of Groups D and E. That could mean a clash between Croatia and Sweden in the first knock-out stage.
Having successfully tested what Danish clubs branded the ‘Superliga Scheme’ across the country, fans will be able to attend Euro games in Parken this summer. The plan is for supporters to be allocated seats in groups of no more than 500 per block. That will provide ample opportunity to adhere to social distancing, while fans will be tested before they enter the ground. The Danish organisers of the Euros hope to have at a minimum 25% capacity at games in Parken – a figure that is likely to raise to one third, around 13,000 spectators, should all go to plan.