Denmark's ban on Twitter and social media back in the spotlight after shock Euro 2012 win

Denmark will still be celebrating its stunning 1-0 upset of a heavily favoured Dutch side yesterday, though the nation's new heroes are not allowed to share their exultation with football fans on Facebook or Twitter. For while the victory is most immediately the result of Michael Krohn-Dehli's workmanlike 24th minute goal, it less obviously brings the blanket social media ban imposed by old-school head coach Morten Olsen into the spotlight.

The decision to ban Danish players from engaging with social networking sites for the duration of the prestigious football tournament was announced as far back as April, though the effect of the pronouncement could hardly be considered until the side had played its first competitive match.

The final whistle in Kharkhiv seems to have vindicated Olsen and his off-field tactics, and will no doubt go a long way to quieting his more vocal critics. It was reported that some Danish players, including star forward Nicklas Bendtner, were far from pleased with the restriction.

"I don't agree with it. It would have been nice for the players to express some thoughts," the Arsenal man said.

The discontent of the country's sport minister, Uffe Elbaek, was even greater, with the politician venturing that he thought the ban infringed on his country's commitment to freedom of speech. He even went as far as to demand an official explanation from the nation's football federation.

Now, it looks like a potentially shrewd move, albeit one that is at risk of being blown out of proportion. Mr Elbaek's claim is particularly far-fetched. The freewheeling days of George Best are well and truly gone. Life as a professional athlete in 2012 involves a degree of control, with players' diets, fitness regimes, and social habits all subject to supervision. It is not an affront to civil liberties, as genuinely seen in some parts of the world - including joint host nation Poland itself last year - but rather one of the demands of working in a profession where the optimisation of on-pitch performance is closely linked to the receipt of absurd paycheques.

It is a testament to the power of Twitter and Facebook that social media now merits an official tournament policy in some dressing rooms alongside the other pastimes most popular among footballers - drinking, smoking, and womanising. Reigning world champion side, Spain was also hit by a similar ban from its manager, though it lasted just three days. Ireland and Germany are also reported to have issued players with something akin to an online code of conduct.

"There was a time when we lived without Twitter and we'll be able to do it during the Euros," commented the veteran Danish keeper Thomas Sorensen, who has 20,000 followers on his @TSorensen1 account.

Olsen does have a point. It's not difficult to see the possibility that players could be affected by reading too much into remarks from rivals or teammates, or by football related controversies rearing their head in the digital world. It can hardly be easy, for instance, for Rio Ferdinand's former England colleagues to listen to him whinge away on Twitter about an unjust end to his international career while trying to gear up for a crucial opening showdown with France.

But it's a stretch to think that the minutes or even seconds it takes to log an exuberant status update after a big victory is going to distract professionals to the point that it has any bearing on their play or the team's results. Indeed, one of the biggest joys of sites like Twitter is being able to interact more personally with your heroes, sporting or otherwise, where before fans had to make do with long-distance applause at the end of a match, or maybe a brusque autograph for those who stuck around the car park for a couple of hours.

There are dangers, of course, especially for thick, inebriated students, but greater access to public figures is one of the clear benefits of the social media revolution. And then there's the excitement of briefly glimpsing into the thoughts of explosive personalities like Italian Mario Balotelli, and contrarian Nietzsche enthusiasts such as Britain's own Joey Barton. In fact, the onus on footballers' online activities should be the same during a major international tournament as it is the rest of the year and during domestic campaigns - to behave responsibly and with the team's best interests in mind. In this light, a ban on the typically disciplined Danes seems a bit comical - though it is admittedly another matter entirely with regards to players like Balotelli and Barton.