Thursday, October 15, 2009

Denmark to South Africa: wrap up group 1

Denmark's last match against Hungary was a quite pathetic 0-1 loss (in fact, the first world cup qualifying defeat in Copenhagen since 1981....), but didn't mean anything because of Denmark's 1-0 victory against Sweden last Saturday, that had already given the Danes their ticket to South Africa next year.Denmark was an unfancied team before the qualfiers, and I think everyone, including Danes, would have put their bets on Portugal and Sweden, who have nevertheless trailed the Danes: Sweden was defeated twice, and Portugal only managed one tie with the well-organised Danes.
Because that is what can be said about the Danish team: they fight with spirit, are well-organised, and cold-blooded in the important situations - they follow their luck, and thus are deserved winners of the group.
That said, the Danish team still lacks stars, and when they play bad (like they did tonight, or recently against Albania), they play awfully, something that they can ill-afford in South Africa. However, one of the main reasons they have qualified is that they have been favoured by hugely disappointing opponents in the qualifiers: Portugal is surely a better team than Denmark, but have as usual been arrogant and lacked a fighting spirit that can still cost them their qualification in their coming play-off match.
I am sorry for Sweden, but they have simply been awful, and I really think that this must be the worse team in Swedish history; the players are not that bad, but they play primitively and predictable football, with high balls up to Ibrahimovic, who in spite of his stardom in his clubs, seems to be no particular asset when the tactics are so predictable. Sweden will not be missed in South Africa.
Anyway, Denmark will not be world champions. Depending on the draw, they may struggle to progress from the first round, but on the other hand, the comforting thought for a Danish fan is that the Danes seem to perform best when faced against outstanding opponents, but disappoint against smaller teams. I certainly hope it is the former that they will take with them to South Africa!


The Claus (a.k.a- Yankie) said...

As I said in the email so eloquently...
That was the worst shit I have ever seen on a football pitch!
The American football team Miami Dolphins could have played better "soccer" against Hungary!
If Denmark plays like that in South Africa, then they will not win one match!
Is this the worst Danish side in 30 years? Have their victories been luck? or are Sweden, Portugal and Hungary worse than Denmark?
Regardless, I am very pleased that Denmark has qualified for the World Cup in South Africa next summer.

El Erik said...

My eloquent friend!
Interesting question.
The Danish team is not good. The worse in 30 years... Well, they didn't qualify in 2006 and 2008, so I think those teams were worse...
I think Denmark wasn't lucky though, but were more cold than Portugal or Sweden, who, I am sorry to say to the fans of either team, were much - MUCH worse than Denmark (Sweden barely managed to defeat Malta...).
So in that sense, Denmark's luck was that their biggest adversaries were so lousy: in both victories against Sweden, Denmark was the better team, and Portugal grossly underestimated Denmark in the match in Lisbon, giving away the match they should have won.
But how will Denmark do in South Africa...? Surely, if they play like Saturday, they will lose to every game. But playing with spirit against a naive opponent, like they did against Sweden, they can defeat some teams.
The current Danish team can only beat the big teams, like England, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, etc. in one out 100 matches...
As Danish fans we can just hope they hit those improbable matches in South Africa! :)

Buddy Irons said...

Congratulations! Remember 1992! There is always a dark horse who does well at the World Cup, anyway. South Korea under Guus? The USA same year? South Korea may have had home advantage, but I think the USA benefited from the lack of hype and expectation surrounding them. And then, once you've won a few games, confidence grows... One thing's for sure, not all the big teams will perform well (France 2002, Holland and Spain most times) although Germany will probably make it to the Final whether they play well or not! If you're lucky you'll get England and beat us 4-1 again. Do you follow the Viasat Divisionen and the Superleague?

El Erik said...

Thanks a lot for your comment. It is true what you say that there are always dark horses, but it is impossible to predict who they will be: perhaps it will be Serbia this time (and how dark horse are they), or like I believe Chile, or who knows, even Slovenia, or Denmark...?
Also, it is true one or a few of the big nations always does bad, but in fact, it is always one of them that ends up winning! A "dark horse" in a world cup is someone unexpected reaching the semi-final (Belgium 1986, Bulgaria 1994, South Corea 2002) or quarterfinals (Cameroon 1990, Senegal 1998, etc.). But it is the big nations that win, and I am pretty sure it will be in South Africa as well!

If Denmark reaches the quarterfinals, be sure, I will be happy together with all fans! Defeat England 4-1 on the way, will be akin to winning the whole thing :)