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Posted by Casper Stopa on 06/21/2010

With a 2-1 win over Cameroon this saturday, Denmark and Japan will fight it out in the last group match over the second spot behind the Netherlands. The game was full of speed and excitement, but also many unforced errors by both teams.

The first one came after ten minutes, when Christian Poulsen made a bad blunder in the Danish defence, and Samuel Eto´o getting the opening goal. This was very frustrating, as a personal mistake also gave way to the first goal agains the Netherlands, and the Danish team did not look organized or secure on the ball.
However, just 20 minutes later, a good move from Dennis Rommedhal set up Nicklas Bendtner who scored our first goal in this years World Cup.

Dennis Rommedhal also scored the winning goal after just over an hours play, consolidating himself as man of the match. Overall, the game was highly entertaining with many chances in both ends, but lacking the structure that makes a truly great game. The result however was a relief for the Danish fans and one that keeps us hoping for a long run in South Africa.

There is a couple of thing to note after this match, which, by the way, was a real fans-game with many highs and lows and open chances, very enjoyable I thought!

First, the result and where that leaves us. The Netherlands are sure to be number one in the group, having allready beaten the two other teams that can still get six points (us and Japan), Cameroon is out of the World Cup, and that makes the clash with Japan this thursday a group final of sorts, at least for the second spot, and a chance to face the winner of group F (very likely Paraguay) in the second round.

I have before the Cup started said that Japan did not look good in their warm-up matches, loosing all four. This did not prevent them from beating Cameroon, but all in all I still think they look a bit disorganized, relieing to heavily on the likes of Honda and Hasebe (Nakamura seems not to be fit). In other words, I think we can beat them, and we have to, since a draw will give Japan that second spot in the group, because they only lost 0-1 to the Netherlands whereas we lost 0-2.

The second thing to note has to be Dennis Rommedhal. The reason to single him out is not only the fact that he played well agains the Netherlands and both scored and had an assist in the match agains Cameroon, but because he has been the subject of criticism for many, many years now. With a performance like his this saturday, some of this criticism is bound to stop, and should. As many others I also thought he looked very poor in some of the qualification matches, in fact he hasn´t scored a goal for the national side since 17th October 2007!
This goal tally, along with poor performances in general, indicates that at least some of the criticism has been in order, but with Rommedhal enjoying a good season in Ajax under new manager Martin Jol, and with the last games stellar performance, he certainly deserves a second chance.

The third thing I would like to add, is the problems the Danish squad still has, despite a good win and renewed optimism. The overdependence on Bendtner with Jon Dahl Tomasson almost invisble in the match is bound to be a problem, especially if our only other target man, Søren Larsen, indeed is not yet fully fit.

Another problem that was not only evident but also acted on by coach Morten Olsen, is our playmaker position. In the Danish system, something like a 4-2-3-1, Martin Jørgensen started the game next to Christian Poulsen as a centre midfielder. With Poulsen not having his best day at the office, the frailty of Jørgensen was showing, and he had to be replaced by half time with Daniel Jensen. However, Jensen did not convice me either, and it is now very much in the air who will start next to Poulsen agains Japan. I would personally like to se Thomas Kahlenberg, but Morten Olsen seems to prefer playing him in a more attacking position. Another option could be William Kvist, who is more of a holding midfielder which could provide some more cover for our defence. More likely, Olsen will give Martin Jørgensen a second chance, with the Japanese not being as physical a team as Cameroon.

One player that will not be in the starting line-up agains Japan is Simon Kjær. The young centreback picked up his second yellow card in the tournament, and is suspended for the next game. This could be a problem, but Per Krøldrup has filled in many times before, and should do the job.

Comments

Posted by dara on 06/22/2010

I wish Japan would progress....my all ma fingers crossed!! go go bafana japana!!

Posted by Ben on 06/22/2010

Tusind tak, Mr. Stopa.

I agree with all your points, especially with those concerning the role of Kahlenberg. I'm a great fan of his.

I'd also like to see Erickson get some time on the pitch - his creativity could break some of the reliance on Bendtner - although in this match, I think Bedntner's size will be a great asset in the box.

Anyway...Go Danish Dynamite!

Skol!

Posted by Kei on 06/23/2010

I actually thought Japan looked more organized and disciplined as a team vs the Dutch than we did against Cameroon.

There will be goals scored in this game, I feel; just a matter of who gets the first, then ultimately, who gets the most. Japan isn't going to want to play for a draw, because that would just come back to bite us in the end. And obviously, the Danes will need a victory.

Denmark will probably go in as the favorites, but I'm hoping it will be an evenly matched affair. Preferably with the scores even at the end, as well!

dara: Bafana Japana. That is classic!

Posted by carl mcmahon on 06/23/2010

it will be a tough match for us.
i think tulio the Japanese center back is a great player i think he is really excelling himself in these finals,maybe a European team might have a look at him,do you think?.
i thought rommedahl was outstanding in both matches and the goal for tomasson has to come soon or at least i hope so.
personally i think it will be a tough match but i think we will win 1 or 2-0.the only thing that worries me is the pace of the Japanese team but as you said they do rely to much on Honda.
In Simon Kjaer is there any news where he will be heading in the summer?.I am an Arsenal fan and is there any chance of him landing there.I think Wenger is looking for defenders as it looks like Gallas will be leaving.
Also will Daniel Agger be leaving Liverpool?It would be great to have both of them at Arsenal haha.

Posted by Casper Stopa on 06/23/2010

Hi Carl

I didn´t really know about Tulio before the WC, but he certainly looks an interestingly player. I understand he used to play both as a midfielder and even a striker (!) and might not be up to the level of a major european league. Also he is 29 years old, but maybe one of the smaller leagues?

Regarding Simon Kjær, there are all sorts of rumors going around. Both Juventus and Inter Milan seems interested, and there has been reports of a long-standing interest from Manchester Utd, but not from Arsenal though
Gallas seems certain to leave, most likely for Juve. Apparently Wenger has set his seights on french centreback Laurent Koscielny, who might prove a cheaper player than Kjær.

As to Agger, he has several times said he definately will stay at Anfield, so no Danes heading your way I´m afraid!

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