Inside its 43,094 km² territory, Denmark counts over 5,400 000 people. Geographically, this Northern European country is located near the United Kingdom on the west, Norway on the north, Sweden on the east, and Germany on the south.
Denmark is almost entirely surrounded by waters, but by land it is connected to Germany. The Baltic Sea and the North Sea sweep the country’s South-East and West borders respectively while the Skagerrak and the Kattegat can be found to the north and to the north-east.
Jylland constitutes Denmark’s western part. Unlike the country’s 76 inhabited islands, Jylland is a peninsula which is located near Germany. In fact, Denmark is made of many other tiny islands and politically, the Faroe Islands and Greenland are part of the country. However, in football, Denmark competes separately and the country’s national team can be proud of their achievements.
In 1992, Denmark lifted Europe’s most prestigious trophy as they were crowned European champions. They rounded up a memorable period of heroism by winning the 1995 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament as European representatives.
Recently, Denmark also wrote a new page in their history of football. They automatically qualified for South Africa 2010 in October 2009 to participate in their third ever World Cup tournament.
Who would have imagined Denmark having such an easy way out in the qualifiers where they had to face the likes of 2006 World Cup semi-finalists Portugal and 2008 European Championship participants Sweden?
Denmark may now look forward to bettering their best result at a World Cup which was a quarter-final place finish back in 1998.
For the 2010 World Cup qualification campaign, Denmark were drawn in Group A which contained Portugal, Sweden, Hungary, Albania, and Malta. In their first match of the campaign on September 6, 2008, the Danes secured a goalless draw away to Hungary. The match was played at the Stadium Puskas Ferenc named after the legendary Hungarian footballer.
Perhaps drawing goalless didn’t signify the best start for Denmark, but the next qualifier proved to be different altogether. It was another trip for the Danes away from Copenhagen. This time, they travelled to Portugal and not Hungary to face Carlos Queiroz in Lisbon.
There couldn’t have been more drama as Denmark stunned the hosts to win the five-goal thriller. When Bendtner’s 84th minute equalizer of Nani’s first half goal was cancelled out by Deco’s 86th minute penalty, most people thought that Denmark had been cut of their last breath. However, things suddenly turned around as playmaker Poulsen and Jensen both scored in injury time to seal Denmark’s unbelievable 3-2 victory over Portugal at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
A month later, the Danish Dynamite (as the national team is being called in English) built on their impressive victory away to Portugal to defeat ‘minnows’ Malta 3-0 at the Parken Stadium. It marked Denmark’s first home match in the qualifiers and already, they had clinched seven points.
They Danes then saw off Malta away and Albania at home with the same 3-0 score line before shocking Sweden in Solna thanks to Kahlenberg’s 22nd minute goal. Denmark’s run of five victories on the trot came to an end in June 2009 as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Portugal.
The Danes then faced another 1-1 draw away to Denmark only for them to wait a bit longer before celebrating their certain qualification into the finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
On October 10 last year, Denmark finally sealed their place as leaders of Group A after beating Sweden 1-0 again through Poulsen’s deadlock breaker eleven minutes from time. Denmark had therefore clinched automatic tickets for the finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Their last game was consequently of no importance and they lost that one 1-0 at home to Hungary.
At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Denmark will play against the Netherlands, Cameroon, and Japan respectively in Group E.
Match-day One: Netherlands vs Denmark
Denmark’s first 2010 World Cup match will be the tournament’s ninth game in all. They’ll be playing as the away team against the Netherlands in an interesting clash that should showcase a lot of talent.
Perhaps, the Netherlands will be tipped as favorites to win this particular encounter but the Danes might not be seen as underdogs either. Despite the fact that this match will mark their first World Cup game in eight years, Denmark will still be seen as potential troublemakers.
Just as they stunned Portugal in Lisbon during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Denmark may prevent the Netherlands from enjoying the best of starts.
Though the Danes are arguably not better than the Netherlands on paper, they still possess the strength and the power to upset almost any team… at least, playmakers like Poulsen and Bendtner proved their value against important football nations such as Portugal and Sweden in the qualifiers.
This match is scheduled to start at 13:30 South African local time in Johannesburg.
Match-day Two: Cameroon vs Denmark
How difficult or easy will it be for Denmark when they play Cameroon at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria? This encounter will come up at 18:30 GMT on June 19, as Group E enters match-day two of the tournament.
Both Cameroon and Denmark have a very different style of play so it could be hard to separate the two teams during the 90 minutes. Whoever manages to dominate first might end up with the best result in their bag but these are only quick analyses.
The public will look forward to an interesting attacking duel between Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o and Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner.
Match-day Three: Denmark vs Japan
The Japanese, who are aiming to reach the semis at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, will surely try to pose a tough challenge to the Danes unless this game becomes of no importance for Japan.
Most people will expect Denmark to come on top of this encounter considering comparisons between both team’s overall qualities. This time, Denmark will be playing as the home side as the game will take stage in Rustenburg, at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
Denmark vs Japan will kick off at 20:30 South Africa local time on June 24.
Thomas Sorensen; Stephan Andersen; Jesper Christiansen
William Jorgensen; Simon Kjær; Simon Poulsen; Per Kroldrup; Patrick Mtiliga; Lars Jacobsen; Daniel Agger
Thomas Kahlenberg; Thomas Enevoldsen; Mikkel Beckmann; Jakob Poulsen; Daniel Jensen; Christian Eriksen; Christian Poulsen
Soren Larsen; Nicklas Bendtner; Martin Jorgensen; Jon Dahl Tomasson; Jesper Gronkjær; Dennis Rommedahl
Denmark should be thinking that if they could beat Portugal and Sweden before subsequently qualifying ahead of everyone in Group A during the 2010 World Cup qualification campaign, then they can surprise big guns in South Africa. In 2002 like in 1986, Denmark did enough to survive the group stages. Unfortunately for the Danes, they crashed out in the Round of 16 at both of these occasions.
But in between those years, Denmark managed to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup; that was in France 1998. They could emulate this achievement or even go further than that in South Africa 2010. But this will require unity, confidence, determination, and quality play from the players.
At least, Denmark are not expected to bring home the 2010 World Cup trophy so the team should not suffer from intense pressure. However, avoiding humiliation and proving to the world how far Denmark have come over the past couple of years will be a must for the Scandinavian country. Fans will be looking at Poulsen and Nicklas Bendtner to raise the Danish Dynamite.
The 29-year-old defensive midfielder is a very experienced player. Having featured in several matches with Juventus and Denmark, Poulsen got the opportunity to develop his talent around aggression, stamina, and tactics.
Christian Poulsen scored three goals for Denmark during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Now instead of showing his tempered side, fans of the Danes would prefer to see Poulsen influence the country’s national team on a positive note.
He is maybe not amongst the English Premier League’s finest strikers but the Arsenal striker has proven to be a real sensation for his country. Nicklas Bendtner is still young and growing but he can already be proud of his contribution for the Danish Dynamite.
Like Poulsen, Nicklas Bendtner scored three important goals during his country’s qualification campaign. Two of those came in separate games against Portugal. An in-form Nicklas Bendtner could turn Denmark’s fortune in a right way at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Denmark coach, Morten Olsen: “I’m wary of fitness issues”
“It’s a group with different styles of football coming from different continents. I think that’s intriguing. The most important thing probably will be which team has fit players and in good form ahead of the tournament […]
“It’s only when I know how we’re looking in that respect that I can reveal my chances of making it through. We hope to play well and we also hope to be lucky. That always helps!”
Luckiness? Watch out for a hand-of-God incident, perhaps!
Denmark’s FIFA World Cup record is not that strong but in their three previous appearances, the Danes once managed to reach the quarter-finals at least.
2002, 1986: Round of 16
Follow LiveSoccerTV.com between June 11th and July 11th and get news, live feeds, video highlights and more on Denmark throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup competition!
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