Euro 2012 Report Card: Denmark punched above their weight but couldn't get to the knockouts

Morten Olsen's side can be proud of their performance, and even feel hard done by for not making the quarters...
By Arkaprabha Chakraborty


Expectation :Drawn in the toughest group of the lot, one had to feel sorry for the Danes who are a good unit, but not exceptional. Most probably thought they would prop up the rest of the group, maybe even without a single point.

Result : They proved to be a fiesty lot unimpressed by the reputations and abilities of their rivals. They pulled off one shock win over the Netherlands, but it was no fluke. They were the better team. They could have managed a second against Portugal but eventually lost 3-2 in a thriller. They then went down 2-1 to Germany in their final group game but left the tournament with their heads held high.

The Coach : Morten Olsen has been serving Denmark for well over a decade for a reason. He has always been able to make the underwhelming Danes make a fight of it at the very least and usually manages a few upsets. This tournament was no exception, with Denmark felling the mighty Dutch in their very first game. He set his team out to attack Portugal and they did so superbly, losing to a bitter injury time goal by Silvestre Varela. In their next game, they set out to frustrate Germany, but refused to keel after conceding first, coming back to equalize before eventually losing 2-1. This shows how adaptable Olsen's methods are and the fact that he realizes that no one way is the right way has taken both him and his Danish charges a long way since 2000. A disciplinarian with a soft core and a rigid tactician, it is quite possible he could have been more successful with a better team at his disposal. Already well respected in the footballing world, he certainly seems like one for the long haul.

Where it went wrong : A lack of enough quality players marginally blunted their game against traditional heavyweights. Agger was a rock at the back and Bendtner was enormous like he has never been before up front. Perhaps a large portion of the blame can be put onto the young shoulders of Christian Eriksen. The 20-year old who is the next great Danish hope was supposed to make this stage his own, but seemed overawed by the circumstances, and Denmark sorely missed the playmaking abilities the whole country knows he has. Luckily, their strike force gave them something to cheer about.

Top Player of the Tournament
Michael Krohn-Dehli

Krohn-Dehli cut through the Dutch as smooth as silk to slot it past Stekelenburg

One could be forgiven for forgetting that Michael Krohn-Dehli was an out-and-out striker instead of a winger for the wonderful goals he scored. He scored the only goal of the game against the Netherlands and the equalizer against Germany before they lost 2-1. One person who can really look back on this tournament with a lot of satisfaction.

Flop Player of the Tournament
Simon Poulsen

Simon Poulsen just did not manage to look interested through the tournament

They say that it's worse to be disinterested than it is to be bad and Simon Poulsen was both. The defender was barely there through the Danish campaign except against the Dutch and he just seemed to be going through the motions down their left flank. And his inability to cross properly just never quite made him a threat.

"We were up against the world's elite and we were in the game until the very end. When all is said and done, I think we have done very well. There is certainly a future in this team."

- Morten Olsen
(Talking about Denmark's performances)

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