Denmark are considered among the contenders for WOMEN’S EURO 2005 after beating Norway to first place in their qualifying group - but their first match in England will be a real test.
Poul Højmose's side play in the first match of the finals against 2001 runners-up Sweden, before facing hosts England and Finland in Group A. And the coach, whose reign ends after the tournament, believes his squad's preparations will leave them well placed to succeed.
uefa.com: You will face one of the favourites in Sweden in your opening game, so Scandinavian pride will be at stake in Blackpool.
Poul Højmose: I know Sweden well, we've played against them a lot of times. It will be a very open game but I think we have opportunities to beat them.
We have grown a lot over the last two years while Sweden have lost a little bit since the [FIFA] Women's World Cup and some of their players are injured. It will be an open game but I think we have the ability to win.
uefa.com: What about your other opponents, England and Finland?
Højmose: I would have preferred to play against England in the opening game because they're not a tournament team as they did not have to qualify and the players don't have the experience of these matches. If they win their opening game against Finland their spirits will be raised which will make them difficult opponents for us. We also know all about Finland and Sweden too, so face three different games.
uefa.com: You had an excellent qualifying campaign by finishing ahead of Norway and recently beat one of the world's great sides, the United States, away. Confidence must be sky-high.
Højmose: Yes it is. We drew 1-1 against the US and then beat them 3-1 and were the best side in both games. The majority of our players are aged between 26 and 31 and have lots of experience but have never won a tournament so they have strong hearts and desire to reach the final. We have good young players too who have matured a lot so
I think we have a good opportunity to progress through to the final, although the competition is open.
uefa.com: Does the fact that you will be standing down after the tournament make you and the players even more determined to succeed in England?
Højmose: It does.
uefa.com: You'll play some of the best teams in the world over the coming months. Will that help your preparations for England?
Højmose: Of course, to play two games in the beginning of February in China and at the Algarve Cup means six very good games which is perfect for us. We also have Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada to play which takes our total of warm-up games to ten. They'll be tough and we will be ready.
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