Curt Onalfo Breaks Down Denmark
At full strength, Denmark is certainly one of the best national teams in the world. The fact that they have qualified for the last six European Championships is a tremendous statement about the quality of their side.
For our match today, they will be fielding a team comprised of the best players in their domestic league. It will be a side that is young and inexperienced at the international level, but we all know these players will be eager to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their abilities as Denmark prepares for the Euro 2004 in Portugal and World Cup qualifying later this year.
Their roster of players, as a whole, is very athletic, tall, and very technically sound. We believe they will play out of a 4-5-1 formation, and assume a low-pressure style. Defensively, that begins with drawing their line of pressure at the top of the center circle. Very organized defensively, as all Morten Olsen teams are, a major part of their game plan will be to get numbers behind the ball, cut off passing lanes, and make it difficult for us to play through them.
In order to break down such a compact defense, a key factor in our success today will be the ability to counter attack quickly when we win the ball. We need to play forward quickly and "get on our bikes" to catch them on the break. If we are able to do this effectively, we can create many scoring opportunities and position ourselves to win the game.
When they do have time to get numbers behind the ball, it will be important for us to have quick ball circulation, switching the point of attack when possible, and getting lots of movement from our players.
Another important factor in the game will be our defense on set pieces. They are a very tall team, so we will need to be extremely alert defensively on these plays, marking up quickly and tightly. Once again, we need to look to break out on these occasions.
The coaching staff and players are looking forward to this game. It's been an intense two weeks of training, and now it's time to roll the ball out and measure our progress. We want to start the 2004 campaign on a positive note, and this will be an important first step in our never-ending preparation to qualify for Germany 2006.