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Denmark's perfect blend celebrate qualification

Published: Wednesday 12 October 2011, 10.00CET
Denmark's mix of youth and experience was united in joy after Morten Olsen's side booked their UEFA EURO 2012 place with a 2-1 victory over Portugal that sealed top spot in Group H.
by Thomas Mark
from Parken Stadion
Published: Wednesday 12 October 2011, 10.00CET

Denmark's perfect blend celebrate qualification

Denmark's mix of youth and experience was united in joy after Morten Olsen's side booked their UEFA EURO 2012 place with a 2-1 victory over Portugal that sealed top spot in Group H.

Denmark's young guns are itching for a first taste of major final tournament action while the likes of Dennis Rommedahl aim for one last hurrah after Morten Olsen's perfect blend booked their UEFA EURO 2012 place with a 2-1 victory over Portugal.

Denmark went into Tuesday's Group H decider in Copenhagen knowing only victory would confirm progress. Goals from Michael Krohn-Dehli and Nicklas Bendtner saw them through, even if Cristiano Ronaldo's late free-kick ensured a nervous finale.

"I don't face players like those in the Danish league," FC Nordsjælland centre-back Andreas Bjelland said of a lineup that included Nani, João Moutinho, Bruno Alves and Ronaldo. "But we played a very good game and managed to control the ball. It was great and it's a tremendous feeling right now. We didn't even have to look at the Sweden game – we did it ourselves."

Sweden's Group E meeting with the Netherlands was given a lot of attention by the Danish media in the run-up to the game as they would have been Denmark's chief rivals for the automatic spot that went to the best runners-up.

Bjelland insists Olsen's men "were concentrating on our own game" – perhaps for the best, as in the event Sweden beat the Netherlands 3-2. Right-back Lars Jacobsen, nine years Bjelland's senior at 32, had more pressing things to worry about as he went head to head with Nani.

"Portugal have a great side and some great players but we played as a team, showed courage and won deservedly," he said. "Our tactics were spot on and we did everything we had talked about before the game; really doing very well, closing them down in key areas, especially up front. We knew all about their quality, but we played a very solid game."

Victory had particular resonance for Rommedahl and Christian Eriksen, players at different stages of their careers who combined to devastating effect to set up Bendtner's second-half strike. For 19-year-old Eriksen, who came into the squad just before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it brought the realisation of "how hard it is to get through". He added: "We are growing game by game and everybody enjoys playing for this team – that's why we are getting results."

At 33, Rommedahl is treating every major tournament as if it were his last. "I'm going to enjoy [the finals]," said the forward. "This might be the last big tournament for me though I've just heard that I'm still young, so maybe in three years I will still be there if we qualify. You never know."

Last updated: 26/09/14 5.02CET

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