It's been eight months since Denmark clinched first place in their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying group with a 2-1 win against Portugal. It was a match that gave Denmark fans everywhere hope. Although they may not have the highest-profile players, their team concept has remained the same for 12 years under Morten Olsen – and it seems to work.
But now a sterner test awaits. Denmark will face three of the world's top ten FIFA-ranked teams in Group B, starting with the Netherlands. But do they need to fear the Dutch? No. After all, Olsen's charges themselves lie ninth in the same table. Should they treat them with the utmost respect? Of course. Everyone knows what the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie are capable of doing.
Let's not forget that football is a team sport, however, and sometimes skill and star quality are just not enough. "They are human beings, just like us," said Danish winger Dennis Rommedahl. Some of his team-mates have also hinted that defence is the Oranje's weak spot. Inexperienced left-back Jetro Willems may well be picked to face Rommedahl, while centre-back Joris Mathijsen's hamstring injury could prevent him from taking his place in the starting lineup.
The game could be a terrific display of technical proficiency and fast, well-executed possession play. Given that it is also the first match in UEFA EURO 2012 Group B, though, both teams could be reluctant to open up. Olsen seemed to downplay his side's chances, meanwhile. "Everybody needs luck," he said. "Perhaps we just need a little more than the others."
Luck on its own almost certainly won't be enough, but if Denmark get a couple of breaks and maintain faith in their own ability, they could just stand a chance against the might of the Netherlands.
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