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Denmark finding their sea legs

Published: Sunday 3 June 2012, 15.17CET
There were mixed feelings in the Danish camp after their 2-0 victory against Australia in Copenhagen on Saturday, with Nicklas Bendtner convinced "the sharpness will return".
by Pelle Rasmussen
from Parken Stadion
Denmark finding their sea legs
Daniel Agger was felled for Denmark's penalty against Australia which he converted ©Getty Images
 
Published: Sunday 3 June 2012, 15.17CET

Denmark finding their sea legs

There were mixed feelings in the Danish camp after their 2-0 victory against Australia in Copenhagen on Saturday, with Nicklas Bendtner convinced "the sharpness will return".

Nicklas Bendtner agrees that there is room for improvement in Denmark's play, but if the nature of Saturday's 2-0 friendly victory against Australia in Copenhagen was prosaic, the striker insisted that only a lack of sharpness was to blame.

"We're playing a bit too slowly and too horizontally," said Bendtner, who was unable to add to his strike in last week's 3-1 defeat by Brazil against the Socceroos. "We've trained extremely hard in our preparations and I'm certain the sharpness will return."

Captain Daniel Agger, who scored the opening goal penalty after being brought down in Denmark's best move of the match, echoed his team-mate's sentiments but was was unperturbed by his side's shortcomings. "Even though we did well to keep possession for spells, we looked tired and our play was a little heavy," said the Liverpool FC defender, whose spot-kick preceded Andreas Bjelland's second-half goal. "We left too many gaps and weren't as compact as we would have liked, but we're only a week away from getting there."

At the other end of the pitch, Denmark's chances of success in Poland and Ukraine will rely heavily on the form of AFC Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen, one of the most exciting young prospects in European football.

"Personally, I felt better than a week ago," said Eriksen. "Things are progressing in the right direction and I'm getting closer to top form. I've got a good feeling." Asked about the moment of magic when he played in Agger with a delightful back-heel prior that led to the penalty, the midfielder said: "I saw it as my only option."

Given the improvement in their fitness levels, Olsen's charges can be optimistic about rediscovering to the kind of form that saw them pip UEFA EURO 2012 Group A opponents Portugal to top spot in qualifying. Whether that will be enough to progress from a section also including the Netherlands and Germany, however, remains to be seen. Their tricky assignment begins against the Oranje on 9 June.

Last updated: 09/12/12 10.16CET

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