Few teams down the years have attempted to beat Brazil at their own attacking, expansive game. Still fewer have succeeded. Yet if Julie Rydahl Bukh is to be believed, that is exactly the bold strategy that Denmark are planning to employ as Kenneth Heiner-Moller's team chase a result that would keep them in the competition.
For Bukh, who fully expects China to see off the challenge of New Zealand, that means taking maximum points against a thrilling Brazil side whose title credentials were underlined by a superb 4-0 win over the hosts. Easier said than done, of course. It was, after all, and by Bukh's own candid admission, with a sense of genuine foreboding that the Danes watched Marta and Co clinically dismantle the team that had beaten them 3-2 in their opening match.
Nevertheless, the 25-year-old midfielder is adamant
that fear will be replaced by flair and perhaps even a little
Brazilian-style flamboyance when Denmark step out alongside the
skilful South Americans in Hangzhou on Thursday. "I must
admit, it was a little worrying to see how easy Brazil found it
against China," Bukh told
FIFA.com. "It surprised us a lot. We
haven't spoken in too much depth about how we're going to
make sure the same thing doesn't happen to us but I think you
can definitely assume that, whatever we do, it will be positive.
"We know that this is a game we need to win and it would be horrible going out of the tournament knowing we hadn't been positive enough. We have to attack. That's our way of playing anyway so it will come naturally, and we all know what style the Brazilians play, so you can bet on seeing a very good game. I think there's a good chance of a lot of goals from both sides and, if it's boring, I will be amazed."
Praise for England, Smith
Bukh certainly goes into this potential thriller with the very best intentions, but she is also not so naïve as to think that adopting an open, offensive style is without its considerable risks. Not, certainly, against opponents for whom, both collectively and individually, she has the utmost respect.
"I think it's always a big thrill to play against Brazil for any footballer and especially for us with Marta there and in such good form," she said. "She is a fantastic player and I'm sure our coach will have some plan of how to keep her from doing too much damage. But the problem with Brazil is that they're full of good players, so if we focus too much on Marta, one of the others will end up killing us.
"It's nice to have another day or two to build up to this game because there's no doubt it's the biggest match we have faced in a long, long time. And we know how tough it will be. Right now, given how they're playing, Brazil are probably one of the favourites. But it's a challenge we're genuinely looking forward to."
With the Danes happy in Hangzhou and savouring their FIFA Women's World Cup adventure, Bukh's hope is that they can prolong their stay in the Far East by at least another few days. However, having watched most of the competition's other matches unfold, her considered opinion is that it that it is England who are best placed to upset the women's game's traditional superpowers.
"I think Brazil and Germany are probably the favourites at this stage but if I had to pick another team who could do something, it would be England," she said. "They have really impressed me so far, they are a good unit and Kelly Smith is a special player. So I wouldn't count them out."