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Denmark look to ride crest of a wave

Published: Friday 17 June 2011, 18.45CET
Keld Bordinggaard said "we do not want to let them down" when acknowledging the potential impact of home support against Iceland, whose coach has called for "a calm, patient approach".
by Kevin Ashby
from Aalborg
Denmark look to ride crest of a wave
Keld Bordinggaard leads his team to training on the eve of the Iceland match ©fodboldbilleder

Tournament statistics

IcelandDenmark

Goals scored3
 
3
Attempts on target9
 
26
Attempts off target18
 
19
Corners11
 
14
Fouls committed46
 
47
Yellow cards7
 
4
Red Cards1
 
0

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Published: Friday 17 June 2011, 18.45CET

Denmark look to ride crest of a wave

Keld Bordinggaard said "we do not want to let them down" when acknowledging the potential impact of home support against Iceland, whose coach has called for "a calm, patient approach".

Keld Bordinggaard and his Denmark players sense a growing momentum both on and off the pitch and are determined to ride the wave of optimism to the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

When we felt the support in the two games everybody here sensed that something special was on its way. A lot of people are behind us and it's growing and we don't want to let them down now
Keld Bordinggaard

The hosts take on Iceland in Aalborg on Saturday knowing a draw might send them through from Group A, while a victory might not. Complex stuff, yet Bordinggaard is happy to leave "the speculation and calculations" to one side and instead focus on achieving "our big goal" – a semi-final spot and possible Olympic qualification.

What of Iceland? "They're a strong unit with great individual qualities combined with a dynamic game plan. These players are tough to handle and do a lot of running. They have been unlucky at this championship. As far as I see it, they controlled the game against Belarus but had the red card and the penalty against them and lost.

"Anybody can lose against Switzerland, as we know, but I expect to see the Iceland team that we saw in the qualification and play-offs, and it will be tough for us. Right now we have to try and guess their approach to this game, and will prepare for different scenarios. The way we play means we can handle different styles, and that gives us a lot of confidence."

As does the 2-1 comeback win against Belarus last time out, when around 20% of the population tuned in to watch Nicolai Jørgensen fire in a magnificent winner. "One of our aims was to open up towards Denmark with this team because we think we have some qualities and can play a good game of football," continued Bordinggaard.

"When we felt the support in the two games everybody here sensed that something special was on its way. A lot of people are behind us and it's growing and we don't want to let them down now. Our momentum has been building, and it now looks that we are peaking."

Iceland require a handsome victory and the result of the Switzerland-Belarus game to go their way, yet coach Eyjólfur Sverrisson knows "we don't have to score all our goals in the first 15 minutes" and has instead called for "a calm, patient approach".

"We have a chance to qualify and we will aim for that," he said. "The Danish team are growing and have strong individuals, [Christian] Eriksen and Jørgensen can inspire them. It's going to be a great atmosphere in a full stadium and I'll encourage my players to use that as motivation. We beat Germany 4-1 [in qualifying] and I know what we're capable of, so I will be optimistic as always."

Sverrisson has a full squad available again as Aron Gunnarsson has served a suspension and Johann Gudmundsson recovered from a shoulder injury.  Björn Bergmann Sigurdarson is in contention to start after impressing in the second half against Switzerland, when the coach switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2. "We have numerous options regarding tactics and team selections," said the coach. Like Sverrisson, Bordinggaard has a clean bill of health.

Last updated: 19/06/11 12.29CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2011/matches/round=2000002/match=2003395/prematch/preview/index.html#iceland+denmark+preview

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