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Group C: Denmark Qualified as winner of Group 2
Attacking Denmark dream of a repeat of 1992 title win
 

Denmark have not achieved much since their surprise 1992 European Championship title but they won their group -- ahead of France -- at the 2002 World Cup and have the capacity to upset any team at Euro 2004.

The backbone of Denmark, famed for the entertaining attacking soccer promoted by coach Morten Olsen and for their hordes of good-natured supporters with red-and-white face paint, is intact from the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Two years ago the over-confident Danes, flush from victory in their World Cup first-round group which, in addition to France, included Uruguay and Senegal, crashed out in the second round, humiliated 3-0 by England.

That loss highlighted the team's Achilles heel: a largely immobile central defence easily penetrated by agile forwards such as Michael Owen, and a keeper who is excellent at close range but lacks authority further out from the goalmouth.

Nothing has changed. Thomas Sorensen, blamed by many in Denmark for conceding an "easy" goal against England after only five minutes, is still Denmark's undisputed number one goalkeeper and will, if fit, play all matches at Euro 2004.

Sorensen, who before the World Cup spent years in the shadow of Denmark and Manchester United hero Peter Schmeichel -- a key architect of Denmark's 1992 European Championship triumph -- moved to Aston Villa in 2003 after five years with Sunderland and is now more experienced.

Rene Henriksen, a late developer who turned professional in 1999 at the age of 30 and has made his mark in European club football as captain of Greek club Panathinaikos, still reigns supreme as Denmark captain and central defence general.

Henriksen's eye for the game is world class but critics say his excellent positioning skills no longer compensate fully for a lack of speed.

Martin Laursen, the 1.90-metre-tall AC Milan central defender coach Olsen has used alongside Henriksen, is strong in the air but certainly no sprinter either.

But the rest of the Danes are fleet-footed and many, blessed with distinctly un-Scandinavian ball skills, can fool opponents and mesmerise spectators with elegant dribbling, one-touch passes and sudden bursts of speed.

Led by do-or-die Everton midfield playmaker Thomas Gravesen, Denmark's ideal attack formation made up of Chelsea left winger Jesper Gronkjaer, Udinese attacking midfielder Martin Jorgensen, AC Milan striker Jon Dahl Tomasson, Schalke centre forward Ebbe Sand and PSV Eindhoven right winger Dennis Rommedahl is a nightmare for any defence.

"Combination football has taken centre stage. This is a development I like. Individualists have their freedom in time and space to unfurl their skills," Olsen wrote in a column for the influential German football magazine Kicker in December.

Two months earlier the national team he took charge of in 2000 after a poor showing -- three straight losses and a negative goal tally of 0-8 -- at the European Championship in the Netherlands and Belgium had booked a place in the Euro 2004 finals, finishing top of their group ahead of Norway, Romania and Bosnia.

In the qualifiers Denmark won four, drew three and lost one match. That defeat, 2-0 at home in their national Parken stadium in Copenhagen against Bosnia, ended an unbeaten 19-match run in World and European qualifiers and brought a torrent of criticism from the local media, prompting Olsen to threaten to quit.

The steely-eyed national coach, who won 102 caps for Denmark during a 17-year professional career as a rock-solid defender with clubs such as RSC Anderlecht and FC Cologne meant it. But Denmark needed him.

His coaching experience at Brondby, Cologne and Ajax Amsterdam made him almost indispensable for the Danes and eventually the storm blew over.

After winning their Euro 2004 qualification group Olsen's side have beaten two of Europe's best teams -- England and Turkey -- but also lost to Spain in Euro 2004 warm-up friendlies.

Their 2-0 drubbing in Gijon in March once more brought the spotlight on to the Danes' leaky central defence.

Despite their attractive qualities, Denmark are not expected by many to go very far in Portugal where they face Bulgaria, Italy and Sweden in Group C.
- Per Bech Thomsen

 « Star Player »

Name Jon Dahl Tomasson
Position Forward
Club Milan
DOB 29.08.1976

Tomasson a giant for Denmark

Jon Dahl Tomasson may be struggling to hold down a place in AC Milan's first team but he looks certain to lead Denmark's attack at Euro 2004.
Tomasson moved from Feyenoord to Italy's Serie A after the 2002 World Cup and has to compete for a place in the Milan line-up with Italian international Filippo Inzaghi and Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko.
The Danish striker spent most of last season on the bench but recently took advantage of Inzaghi's absence through injury to help the European champions win their 17th Serie A title...   [more]

 

 « The Coach »
Danish coach Olsen looking for more success
Few national team coaches can look back on a playing career as long and successful as that of Denmark's Morten Olsen.
Olsen, now 54, made his national team debut as a defender back in 1970 when few took Danish soccer seriously. He played his then national record 102nd and last game in 1989 -- a 4-0 friendly win over Brazil that celebrated the Danish football federation's 100th anniversary.
Between those two dates, soccer in Denmark came of age with the country reaching the European Championship finals for the first time in 1984 and the World Cup finals for the first time two years later before winning the European title in 1992.
Olsen skippered the exceptional Danish side which included fondly remembered greats such as Michael Laudrup and Preben Elkjaer Larsen and reached the second round of the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico.
By the time Denmark reached those finals, Olsen was a 36-year-old veteran but still fit and skilful enough to be playing club football in Germany with Cologne. He retired in 1989, the year he turned 40.
His coaching debut for Danish giants Brondby the following year was an immediate success as he took the club to two straight championship titles as well as the UEFA Cup semi-finals in 1991, but his stay ended on a sour note and he was sacked in 1992.
After coaching spells with Cologne and Ajax Amsterdam, Olsen replaced Swede Bo Johansson as Denmark coach after the Euro 2000 tournament in the Netherlands and Belgium, and opted for an attacking approach.
Under Olsen's tenure Denmark have developed an efficient 4-3-3 formation, usually with Schalke 04's Ebbe Sand as centre forward backed by wingers Martin Joergensen and Jesper Gronkjaer, and with AC Milan's Jon Dahl Tomasson in an attacking midfield position.
The charismatic and temperamental Olsen has stressed the importance of crowd entertainment in his coaching but has also shown tactical skill, most notably at the 2002 World Cup where Denmark beat defending champions France 2-0 and finished top of their first-round group.
He also survived a mini-crisis during the Euro 2004 qualifiers after a shock home defeat to Bosnia threatened to derail Denmark's bid for a place in the finals.
The fact that Denmark recovered from that and went on to win the group proves he is still the right man for the job.

 

 « The Squad »

 Denmark

Players DOB Club Cap Goal
Morten Olsen C 14.08.1949
1. Thomas Sørensen G 12.06.1976 Aston Villa
16. Peter Skov-Jensen  G 09.06.1971 Midtjylland
22. Stephan Andersen G Copenhagen
6. Thomas Helveg D 24.06.1971 Inter
13. Per Kroldrup D Udinese
18. Brian Priske D 14.05.1977 Genk
3. René Henriksen D 27.08.1969 Panathinaikos
5. Niclas Jensen  D 17.08.1974 Dortmund
4. Martin Laursen D 26.07.1977 Milan
2. Kasper Bøgelund D 08.10.1980 PSV
7. Thomas Gravesen M 11.03.1976 Everton
14. Claus Jensen M 29.04.1977 Charlton
12. Thomas Kahlenberg M Brondby
15. Daniel Jensen M Murcia
17. Christian Poulsen M 28.02.1980 Schalke 04
8. Jesper Grønkjær F 12.08.1977 Chelsea
11. Ebbe Sand F 19.07.1972 Schalke 04
9. Jon Dahl Tomasson F 29.08.1976 Milan
20. Kenneth Perez F Alkmaar
21. Peter Madsen F 26.04.1978 Bochum
19. Dennis Rommedahl F 22.07.1978 PSV
23. Peter Lovernkrands F 29.01.1980 Rangers
10. Martin Jørgensen F 06.10.1975 Udinese
 

 

 

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Federation
Dansk Boldspil Union (1889)

Headquarter Brondby Stadium 20 - 2605 Brondby

Website www.dbu.dk

President Allan Hansen
Best Performance in Finals
Champions in 1992
Recent record in Finals
1980 DNQ
1984 Semi-Final
1988 Round-1
1992 Champions
1996 Round-1
2000 Round-1

 

 « Road to Portugal »

2-2
2-0
5-2
0-2
1-0
2-0
2-2
1-1

v Norway
v Luxembourg
v Romania
v Bosnia
v Norway
v Luxembourg
v Romania
v Bosnia
A
H
A
H
H
A
H
A

 

 « Final Tournament »

C v Italy

   1800 CET 14 June 2004

C v Bulgaria

   1800 CET 18 June 2004

C v Sweden

   2045 CET 22 June 2004

 

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