Saturday, October 12, 2013

An anticipated elimination

I watched Denmark's match against Italy today somewhat reluctantly. There were other interesting matches at the same time, but with Armenia's victory against Bulgaria, Denmark had, against all odds, a chance for second place in their world qualifying group and perhaps even a play-off match. And I did not regret it: I got emotionally into the match as Denmark equalized Italy's lead, and even went ahead 2-1 in the second half, on two goals by the drunk-driving returnee Nicklas Bendtner. But alas, in the last seconds of the match Italy made it 2-2, and Denmark's sudden dream of a World Cup spot were suddenly shattered.
Suddenly, because they were never really there: two ties against Bulgaria, and an epic 0-4 home defeat to Armenia were the reasons that Denmark did not qualify, and in spite of the emotions of today's match, they had little to do with Italy's late equalizer. In fact, I had the sense that Italy's reserve side could have scored at will, in spite of Denmark second-half dominance. All Danish fans have to face the fact that Denmark is simply not good enough for a World Cup this time round. It is as simple as that. The return of Nicklas Bendtner could not have been more positive, with him scoring two goals. That said, it is still with regret that one looks at a player that has clearly wasted his talent, but he is surely the best striker Denmark has, which just goes to show the very low quality of strikers produced in Denmark...
Italy wins the group, and the second placed side of this group seems unlikely to get a play-off match, which also tells you of the low quality of the group.

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