Sunday, 10 June 2012

More of the same needed for Denmark

Denmark’s entry into Euro 2012 was a startling display of teamwork over individual responsibility. By shocking the Bet Euro 2012 community and beating the Netherlands 1-0, the Danes now have a realistic chance of escaping the ‘Group of Death’ and head to Lviv for their clash with the Portuguese no doubt in optimistic mood.

The Danes weren’t intimidated by Holland’s prestigious line-up, happy to play progressive football from the back. William Kvist and Niki Zimling have done this for their respective club sides for years, although dictating the middle of the park so successfully against Portugal’s Miguel Veloso and Raul Meireles may be a problem.

While the team effort was clear, brilliant individual performances stood out within the ranks. Left-back Simon Poulsen was magnificent, preventing Arjen Robben from his usual ‘cut inside and fire’ routine. Going forward the 27-year-old offered great promise, bombing past Michael Krohn-Dehli to challenge a weak Dutch defence.

This attacking confidence was found throughout a back four comfortable with the ball. However, there are still problems for Morten Olsen to address. Nicklas Bendtner looked utterly disinterested with and without the ball.

In a side that relies so much on the counter attack, his inability to run off the shoulder of defenders means play rarely moved forward against a high Dutch line. And it’s unlikely that the performance narrowed his Betfair Euro 2102 top goalscorer odds.

Meanwhile young starlet Christian Eriksen was never given freedom to show off his talents. He will face a similarly robust test against Portugal in Lviv, and will need wingers Dennis Rommedahl and Krohn-Dehli to offer him better supply.

Yet the stand-out man was Krohn-Dehli, who sold three orange shirts a dummy before scoring the winning goal. The Brøndby midfielder was as calm in his defensive duties as he was with the ball, and his clinical finish sets a standard the Danes must upkeep on Wednesday.

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