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Zanka wants a performance and points

Published: Monday 13 June 2011, 14.20CET
Disappointed yet not disheartened after an opening defeat, Denmark centre-back Mathias Zanka Jørgensen is determined to rouse the home support when the hosts face Belarus.
by Kevin Ashby
from Skorping
Zanka wants a performance and points
Mathias Zanka Jørgensen limbers up in training for Denmark ©fodboldbilleder

Tournament statistics

DenmarkBelarus

Goals scored3
 
5
Attempts on target26
 
12
Attempts off target19
 
22
Corners14
 
19
Fouls committed47
 
83
Yellow cards4
 
17
Red Cards0
1

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Published: Monday 13 June 2011, 14.20CET

Zanka wants a performance and points

Disappointed yet not disheartened after an opening defeat, Denmark centre-back Mathias Zanka Jørgensen is determined to rouse the home support when the hosts face Belarus.

Mathias Zanka Jørgensen and his Denmark team-mates are looking to "repay supporters with a good performance and some points" when they take on Belarus on Monday after the hosts' UEFA European Under-21 Championship campaign got off to a losing start against Switzerland.

If you only allow two chances in a top-level European game then that's normally proof that you're doing your job
Mathias Zanka Jørgensen
They're a typical eastern European team – disciplined, well organised and good on the counterattack with some great individual players
Zanka on Belarus

Keld Bordinggaard's team had much of the play in Aalborg on Saturday, only to be felled by a Xherdan Shaqiri sucker punch three minutes after half-time. As well as Shaqiri, the Danes found Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer in inspired form, leaving Zanka disappointed but not disheartened as he reflected on the setback.

Among the positives were "the chances we created, our attacking play after the opening goal, and our defensive play throughout." Zanka, 21, continued: "I think they only had two clear chances in the whole game. If you only allow two chances in a top-level European game then that's normally proof that you're doing your job. The day after [the game] I sensed a great determination in the lads and hopefully we can turn that determination into points."

To achieve that, the FC København centre-back believes Denmark need to ensure their creative individuals see more of the ball: "We have to utilise our great offensive players. We have a very talented player in Christian Eriksen as well as Nicki Bille [Nielsen] and we have to see if we can get them more into the play and as a consequence create a lot more chances."

While Denmark were only able to impose their game for the final 30 minutes against Switzerland as they chased an equaliser, they intend to do so from the start when they face Belarus – 2-0 winners against Iceland in the tournament's opening match – in front of a bumper crowd in Aarhus.

"We've seen video from the Belarus game and we know what type of opponent we are up against," said the defender. "They're a typical eastern European team – disciplined, well organised and good on the counterattack with some great individual players. It's going to be tough for us to go and create things because I think they'll stand back and let us dictate the play. We'll have to see if we can come up with the schemes to open up their defence."

As hosts, Denmark did not have to qualify and, before Saturday, last played a competitive fixture on 15 October 2008 when they lost a play-off for the 2009 finals to Serbia. Danish fans have therefore waited a long time to get behind the side, and Zanka is keen to reward their patience on Monday.

"We felt like we had the whole of Denmark behind us [against Switzerland] and now we think we have to repay them with a good performance and some points," he said. "Let's hope that's going to happen."

Last updated: 14/06/11 12.04CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2011/matches/round=2000002/match=2003391/prematch/focus/index.html#zanka+seeks+danish+cheer

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