Euro 2017: Stina Lykke talks goalkeeping

Between Denmark's last group game and upcoming quarter-final we caught up with Danish number one, Stina Lykke Petersen to talk about her career spent between the posts.


After Lykke’s heroics at the Algarve Cup – saving two penalties as well as tucking one away – to see the red and whites nip in and scoop bronze ahead of Australia, the KoldingQ ‘keeper was back to her old tricks denying Norway from the spot in the last of Denmark’s group games,

Haha, I won't tell you my secrets but yeah, I’ve been lucky to save some penalties last Euros and hopefully I’ll continue to save them this Euro too.

With the Danes already having given away two penalties in three games and their quarter-final opponents, Germany, having already won three the ‘keeper will be prepared should she be called upon from 12-yards though hopes it won’t come to that,

“I’ll just take it as it comes but of course I’ll prepare myself. Hopefully my team won’t give any penalties away but if they do I’ll do the best I can.

With a number of injuries having hit the Danish defence the players in front of Lykke haven’t been consistent throughout the group stages but the shot-stopper admits it doesn’t make a difference, having played with everyone on the team she’s more that comfortable with whoever plays in the backline,

Of course, you always have to change a bit in your perspective and how you see it but it’s all good players and I’ve played with them all so I know them. So, I don’t have a feeling that it's unsecure or anything.

Away from home

At 31 Lykke hasn’t stayed put at one club in her career but rather travelled enjoying stints in Germany and a short spell in Sweden as well as her native Denmark, the play different outside of Scandinavia,

In Germany, it’s more physical than in Denmark and Sweden it’s a bit faster, but I think the tactical play is better in Denmark and in Sweden so it depends on what you look at.

As the saying goes, “a happy footballer is a good footballer” and it rings true for the Dane, at her best when close to her loved ones,

I enjoyed the two years in Germany, I came back in Denmark to start studying again and to be close to my friends and family, I do my best when I’m close to the social network I have. But then I got an offer to go to Sweden and I’m like, “Okay, it’s half a year, I’ll try” and it was really cool but I think right now I’m the best player I can be when I’m in Denmark and I’m close to my family, studying and doing what I do there.

Although the 3fLiga has been around for longer than most would expect recent years has been it dominated by Brøndby and Fortuna Hjørring but Lykke feels that she benefits the most from playing for a team outside of the top two,

We always have this thing that we want to beat those team and as a goalie it’s a good thing to be on those other teams because you’ll be challenged a lot. Youu have to see it differently as a goalie compared to an outfielder because we need the attackers on the other teams to be good to keep us strong and sharp.”

The ‘keeper problem

It’s long been said that one of the weaker parts of women’s football is the standard of goalkeeping, Denmark recently waking up to the problem of developing top quality ‘keepers and for Lykke the solution is going back to when young girls opt to go in goal,

I think we need to start from a young age, I think it’s pretty late in your game that you figure out you want to be a goalie. In the clubs you don’t always have a goalkeeper trainer so you just have to be in goal and take the ball but they don’t get trained in that specific thing – it’s very difficult compared with passing a ball. So we train a lot passing the ball but not a lot of catching the ball.”

Aware of the problem, Denmark is already trying to rectify,

So I think we need to change it from the kids, that’s what we’re focusing on in Denmark so we will get better goalies, and I think it’s actually a problem in the whole world (that goalies aren’t always trained so well).”

Most goalkeepers will say they ended up between the posts because they were simply the tallest and got shoehorned into the role but as one of the more diminutive keepers in women’s football Lykke’s career in goal is thanks it no little part to her family,

I’m not tall," she laughs, “my big brother was a goalie and I really loved to played in goal but I started as a midfield and played there until I was 11 or 12 then I got an injury and I wasn’t selected for a team so then my dad said, “she can play in goal too” and I went just into the goal and never came out again.

Despite her height or lack of, Lykke feels that she’s got the upper hand on some of the taller goalkeepers in the game,

Sometimes if you go out in the goal area and you need to catch a ball up high it’s difficult but I have other things – like if you’re a tall goalkeeper it might be difficult to get down quickly so it depends on how your game is. I just need to be stronger or quicker when I go out. I don’t know what it’s like to be a tall ‘keeper so I don’t know how it is, I just work with what I have.”