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Euro 2012 Tactical Analysis: Can the Danes repeat the triumph of 1992?

Euro 2012 Tactical Analysis: Can the Danes repeat the triumph of 1992?

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Goal.com's Ayush Srivastava has a look at how Denmark's line-up and gives a detailed analysis on what kind of organisation to expect from Morten Olsen's side....

The Group of Death will be a treat to watch, not only because it has four relative heavyweights, but also because all the four teams have a lot of flair and teeth in their attack, making all the games an exciting prospect worth looking forward to.

However a lot of arm-chair pundits have already written off the hopes of Denmark, who under the helm of Morten Olsen, have been regulars to major tournaments in recent years.

It must be remembered though, that Denmark topped a Euro qualification group which included fellow contenders Portugal, and hence cannot be taken lightly.

It is a period of transition for the Danes, who after the 2010 World Cup debacle decided to clear out the old guard, with Dennis Rommedahl being the only veteran who has consistently made Olsen’s starting eleven, largely due to his still considerable pace on the wings.

Olsen generally prefers a 4-3-3 formation, which is adapted to a 4-2-3-1 when defending.


FORMATION AND TACTICS

    How Denmark defends


The injury to Thomas Sorensen is a big blow to Denmark’s hopes, as the Stoke City custodian brought calm and composure in-between the sticks. It looks likely that Stephen Andersen will replace him in goal.

Daniel Agger is the lynchpin in defense for Olsen, and the Liverpool stopper-back will most probably line-up with Simon Kjaer, who though a promising defender, has often failed in physical battles with opponents and that shall remain a cause of worry.

Lars Jacobsen and Simon Poulsen are the usual starters at wing-back position, and though both provide a great attacking outlet, their defensive play can be called into question.

This is why Olsen has adopted a double defensive midfield pivot of Niki Zimling and William Kvist, who have provided excellent cover for the backline in recent times and will look to do the same at the Euros.

The wingers, who in most probability, will be Michael Krohn Dehli and Rommedahl are expected to press the opposition in midfield, hoping to pounce on any dithering on the part of the opposition midfield.


    How Denmark attacks


In attack, the Danes are heavily dependant on Nicklas Bendtner, who though erratic for his club, often delivers the goods for the national side.

Olsen has his side generally playing good passing football, maintaining a high tempo.

Rommedahl starts wide in a 4-3-3, and generally uses his pace to get past players and deliver crosses into the box while Krohn Dehli has become increasingly prominent on the other wing, providing good quality and goals to boot.

The strings for the team in midfield this summer is going to be pulled by Christian Eriksen, the young Ajax playmaker who has often been compared to Wesley Sneijder, thanks to their similar passing range and dribbling skills.

Eriksen adds guile and creativity to a squad largely devoid of it, and hence how he performs in the first tournament where he shall play a major part, having travelled to the last World Cup as a bit-part player, will play a big part in whether they manage to find their way out of the “Group Of Death.”

Jacobsen and Poulsen provide the width from their wing-back positions, while one of the defensive midfielders drops back to make it 3 defenders at the back.


SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength
: The resilience and team spirit is the biggest strength of the Danes. Always more than the sum of their parts, and their unity will be tested to the hilt in the group.

Weakness: Lack of bench strength is Olsen’s biggest headache. While the usual starting eleven are of good quality, the lack of decent back-up is a problem, especially in the attacking areas, where there is no other option good enough to replace Nicklas Bendtner.

Opportunities: For younger players like Eriksen and Bendtner amongst others, this is a glorious chance to stamp their mark on the international stage. Of course there is the inspiration of the batch of 1992, which came straight from their holidays to triumph in glorious fashion.

Threats: Obviously the biggest threat is the group they are placed in. With heavyweights like Portugal, Netherlands and Germany alongside them, the Danes have their task cut out.



COACH IN QUOTES

"We need to be successful in our play and of course you always need that little bit of luck, whether it's a favourable call from the ref, an injury or hitting the post or not. We are not practicing hitting the outside of the post, we are naturally trying to hit the inside of the post.


- Morten Olsen

THE VERDICT

What is certain is that the Danes are no pushovers. However in a group consisting of World Cup finalists Netherlands, tournament hotshots Germany and a re-born Portugal, it is really hard to predict anything more than a group stage departure for the Danes.


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