Jon Dahl Tomasson and Ebbe Sand struck second-half goals to secure Denmark a tougher than expected victory against Luxembourg in their UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier tonight.
Denmark, who now lead Group 2 with four points, were made to toil for their three points despite being on top for virtually the whole match and were unable to break through the visitors' resolute defence for long periods.
Morton Olsen’s side had been held to a 2-2 draw by Scandinavian rivals Norway in their opening qualifier and were determined to brush aside Luxembourg. AC Milan forward Tomasson, however, had to wait until 51 minutes to break the deadlock when he converted a penalty awarded for a foul on midfield player Christian Poulsen.
And the victory was not sealed until twenty minutes later, when FC Schalke 04 striker Sand added the second with a header from five metres out after good work from Tomasson. In the dying stages, Luxembourg even went close when Daniel Hust hit a post from 30 metres.
"All in all I am very satisfied," Olsen said. "Luxembourg had a well organised defence. We are leading the group so there is reason for smiling. But it will be a close race."
Luxembourg's Danish coach Allan Simonsen - a former Denmark team-mate of Olsen's in the 1980s - said his team were on the right track. "We defended the best we could. The penalty was doubtful, but I am satisfied with my team's performance. We can learn a lot from playing against good teams like Denmark."