England travelled to Denmark in August 2005 unbeaten in the calendar year and having conceded just one goal during that time. The big names were all included, with Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney starting a game that was seen as a mere stepping stone friendly ahead of more important World Cup qualifying matches.
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men were mistaken if they thought their Scandinavian opponents could be taken lightly. A second-half horror show saw Denmark run out 4-1 winners, with Dennis Rommedahl and Jon Dahl Tomasson among the scorers. David James, on as a substitute at half-time, claimed after conceding four goals in 45 minutes that he was not mentally prepared for the match.
Long before Steve McClaren and the ‘wally with the brolly’ England managers were on the receiving end of criticism from the newspapers. There even appeared to be a hate campaign against Sir Bobby Robson at one stage during his reign. But the famous ‘Swedes 2 Turnips 1’ headline after England’s 2-1 loss to Sweden back in 1992 lives long in the memory.
Supporters never took to Graham Taylor, whose head was superimposed onto a turnip next to the headline, after the loss, also because he failed to guide England to the 1994 World Cup. Sweden are not the only Scandinavian team to cause a shock against the Three Lions, with the ‘your boys took one hell of a beating’ commentary after the loss to Norway in 1981 still brought up to this day.
A number of Premier League players have been included in the Denmark squad for this friendly.
Anders Lindegaard, Lars Jacobsen, Daniel Agger, Christian Poulsen and Nicklas Bendtner look set to feature, while former Charlton Athletic man Dennis Rommedahl could also play a part.
Ajax youngster Christian Eriksen is expected to start, having become a key player for his club since the World Cup.
Possible starting XI: Lindegaard; Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, S Poulsen; Enevoldsen, Eriksen, C Poulsen, Silberbauer; Rommedahl; Bendtner.
Fabio Capello faces a selection headache after being hit with a number of withdrawals since naming his squad on Saturday.
Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch and Ben Foster have pulled out through injury, while Gabriel Agbonlahor hasn’t joined up with the squad due to personal reasons. Robert Green and Carlton Cole have earned late call-ups, but nether are likely to start.
Capello has confirmed that Jack Wilshere will start in what is expected to be a deeper role in midfield, while Darren Bent could also get his chance to impress alongside Wayne Rooney in attack.
Possible starting XI: Hart; Johnson, Dawson, Terry, Cole; Walcott, Lampard, Wilshere, Milner; Bent, Rooney.
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