The only Scandinavian team to have qualified for South Africa, Denmark travel to this summer’s World Cup with strong hopes of at least matching their best ever performance, a quarter-final appearance earned in France in 1998. With a young and talented squad led by a highly experienced Coach in the shape of Morten Olsen, the Danes should be confident of producing a strong showing in what is a group they are more than capable of progressing from.

After being drawn in a particularly difficult qualifying pool alongside potentially dangerous teams such as Portugal, Sweden and Hungary, Denmark stamped their quality on what could have been a daunting set of fixtures, comfortably finishing top of the group a full two points clear of second-placed Portugal. Indeed, Olsen’s side achieved arguably their most impressive result of the qualifying campaign against the Portuguese, a 2-3 win in Lisbon with Christian Poulsen and Daniel Jensen both scoring in injury time to clinch a famous victory for the Danes.

Tactically, Olsen has clearly favoured a 4-2-3-1 system of late, a formation which gives the team a strong spine (Sorensen-Agger-Poulsen-Tomasson-Bendtner) and maximises the abilities of the team’s two very technically proficient defensive midfielders,  Juventus’ Christian Poulsen and Daniel Jensen of Werder Bremen. On the flanks, Dennis Rommedahl, who was much lambasted during his time at Charlton Athletic, but has found a new lease of life in Holland with Ajax, marshals the right, with the vastly experienced Martin Jorgensen on the left. The team’s talisman, Jon Dahl Tomasson, sits in an advanced central position, essentially a withdrawn forward supporting the target man and main goalscoring threat, Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner.

A well-balanced and meticulously organised side, Morten Olsen’s team should certainly not be underestimated this summer and have the potential to progress to the latter stages of the competition. With a possible second round clash with Paraguay on the cards, don’t rule out a quarter-final appearance for what is an impressive Danish squad.

Probable starting XI: Sorensen (Stoke City); Jacobsen (Blackburn Rovers), Kjaer (Palermo), Agger (Liverpool), Jakobsen (Aalborg); Poulsen. C (Juventus), Jensen (Werder Bremen); Rommedahl (Ajax), Tomasson (Feyenoord), Jorgensen (Aarhus); Bendtner (Arsenal)

The Road to South Africa: 1st in UEFA Group 1

World Ranking: 35th

Odds: 150/1

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