Some of Denmark's older stars have handed Morten Olsen a selection dilemma ahead of the Euros due to their poor performances in the 3-1 loss to Brazil
By Michael Hansen | Denmark Expert
Surely what better way is there to prepare for Euro 2012 than to face Brazil in a warm-up friendly? Well that's what Denmark must have been thinking as they prepared for life in Poland and Ukraine, where they have been drawn in the so-called Group of Death alongside Portugal, Netherlands and Germany.Two hours later and after suffering a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of the South Americans in Hamburg, Morten Olsen must be ruing the decision to face up against the five-time world champions with confidence damaged and a squad deflated just a fortnight away from their opening match of the tournament.
Olsen, who heads into the Euros as the longest-reigning international coach at the competition, deployed his usual defensive 4-3-3 formation which reverts back to a 4-5-1 when the Danes are not in possession, yet their three-man midfield struggled with the intensity of Brazil's flowing game.
It was evident from the early stages that the Danish defence were going to encounter problems with the power and strength of Hulk and his striking partner, Leandro Damiao. Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer are the obvious choices on paper at the back for the Scandinavian nation yet on their showing versus the Samba stars, Olsen may be left with the dilemma of breaking up the partnership ahead of the European Championship.
|MATCH FACTS | Denmark 1-3 Brazil
The 30-year-old looked fairly solid and must be considered for a starting role in the nation's next friendly versus Australia on Saturday. However, it is Anders Lindegaard who many believe to be Sorensen's natural successor and if it wasn't for his recent injury, the Manchester United custodian would have surely be given the opportunity to shine against Brazil.
Another player who flattered to deceive for Denmark was Poulsen, who looked wildly out of sorts on Saturday, and with Christian Eriksen and Niki Zimling looking odds-on for starting roles in the centre of the field, it is the former Liverpool and Juventus defensive midfielder who is fighting for a regular role at the Euros. William Kvist and Jakob Poulsen are both waiting in the wings and will need to grab a first-team slot with both hands if given the chance against Australia.
There were a few bright sparks for Olsen with Lass Schone and Michael Krohn-Dehli looking lively in attack while Dennis Rommedahl's cameo role proved the wily winger still has the pace in his locker to worry the majority of full-backs in the game. It's just a question of consistency for the 33-year-old, as it has always been during his career.
Daniel Wass and Simon Poulsen performed impressively in the full-back positions and are ready for starting roles at the Euros, with Poulsen in particular looking full of attacking intent combined with the concentration levels required to play in defence.
Nikolas Bendtner remains an enigma. The confident striker managed to grab a consolation for Denmark and despite having a respectable 18 international strikes in 47 appearances, the man who spent last season on-loan at Sunderland was rather anonymous for large spells of the match. Does he have any serious competition for the lone striker role, though? It appears not.
Despite a fairly insipid performance, Denmark can take some joy from the fact that, also on Saturday, Germany and Netherlands both lost to fairly ordinary opposition in Switzerland and Bulgaria respectively while Portugal could only manage a goalless draw against Macedonia.
Still, if the Danes are to stand any chance of causing any surprises in the Euros, just as they did by winning the tournament in 1992, changes need to made and fast. Otherwise, an early exit appears on the horizon.