Nickname: Danish Dynamite
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: 36
Denmark qualified for the World Cup in impressive fashion, coming out on top of European Group 1, which included rivals Sweden and highly-ranked Portugal. Denmark only lost one match and that was their last one, after they had already clinched a spot in the World Cup. They will play in Group E with the Netherlands (ranked 4th), Cameroon (ranked 19th) and Japan (ranked 45th).
This will be Denmark’s fourth World Cup appearance and they have never failed to reach the second round. That may prove to be a difficult task in this group, with top contenders the Netherlands and African powerhouse Cameroon standing in the way. The key match for Denmark may be their meeting with Cameroon on Jun 20 in Pretoria. Many would say this game will determine who will qualify in second place and go on to face defending champions Italy in the round of 16.
Denmark is coached by long-time manager Morten Olsen, who has been in charge since 2000. Olsen also has a lot of experience playing for the Danish Dynamite, with more than 100 appearances as a defender for the national team. All this experience has helped Olsen solidify a team that does not have superstars but that has learned to play together and play to win. Olsen prefers to play an attacking style of soccer that some have questioned as not fitting the team’s strengths.
Denmark has a lot of experienced players who have been with the national team for a while, and they hope to rely on that experience during the World Cup. One of those players is their captain, forward Jon Dahl Tomasson. Tomasson is a calm, consistent player who, at 33, is not as explosive as he used to be but is still effective in front of the net. Tomasson is already the second all-time leading scorer for Denmark with 51 goals — only one goal away from tying the all-time lead.
Joining Tomasson up front are forwards Nicklas Bendtner and Soren Larsen, who scored three and five goals respectively during the qualifications to lead the team.
Other key players for Denmark are defender Daniel Agger and midfielder Christian Poulsen.