Denmark lost 1-0 to South Africa in the last friendly before the World Cup kicks off.
The tempo was a bit higher than versus Australia, a match we also lost 1-0, but nothing that even resembles World Cup form.
Many of the Danish teams problems was obvious in the match, and we can only hope that the return of Thomas Sørensen, Simon Kjær, Thomas Kahlenberg and Nicklas Bendtner, all of which were not in the squad for todays match, will lift the team for what promises to be a difficult opening match against the Netherlands monday the 14th.
The result in friendly match doesn´t really matter. At least, that´s what we tell ourselves when we loose, like today. And true enough, we´re not not going to qualify to anything by this loss, but it is certainly an indicator that something is not just right with the Danish national team.
It also means something for morale that you´ve lost the last two matches before the World Cup starts.
There where a few players missing through injury, who should all be fit for the first group match next monday, but the impression I take from this friendly is definitely not positive.
Some of the weaknesses discussed before these friendly matches are still very much a topic it seems.
The biggest problems we have is still our left back position. Simon Poulsen started the match, only to be substituted after half an hour. His replacement, Patrick Mtiliga, did not play well either, and considering that either one of these two will face Arjen Robben (if he is not injured) in the next game...not good. Another option is to play Lars Jacobsen, who dit all right today, as a left back with William Kvist replacing him at right back. But really, I missed Michael Jakobsen from Aab today!
Up front Jon Dahl Tomasson had another poor game, not being dangerous at all. When he was eventually substituted, is was for a winger, not Søren Larsen which would have been the obvious choice. Tomassons lack of goals, along with the fact that Larsen is still pretty far from the top of his game, underlines the teams overdependency on Bendtner as our only in-form striker. Surely we could have doe with Mads Junker or Nicki Bille Nielsen in the squad.
A good result against the Netherlands seems more and more unlikely, with the Dutch team winning 6-1 agains Hungary in their latest friendly. But we should still compete with Cameroun for that second spot, they to are overly dependent on one striker, Eto´o, and have not been too impressing in the build-up phase either.
To finish on a positive note, I should highlight the performance of Jesper Grønkjær. As the only of our offensive players, he showed some enthusiasm and succesfully took defenders on. If fit, Grønkjær could be the player to unlock the defence of our World Cup opponents, with his speed and dribbling abilities. Possibly the most talented danish footballer in his generation, Grønkjærs career has been marred by injuries, but at his best, he has the ability to open up a defence, a thing much needed by the Danish national team, judging by todays performance.