Although the current Denmark line-up embodies all the classic virtues of a balanced and united team, one player stands out from the rest, namely captain Jon Dahl Tomasson. The undisputed leading personality in the squad is on course to emerge from the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ as his country’s most-capped outfield player, and as the nation’s all-time leading scorer. "I'd love to make a bit of history and have my name in the record books,“ Tomasson revealed in an exclusive FIFA.com interview.
At the age of just 17, Tomasson made his Dutch Eredivisie debut for Heerenveen, before moving on to Newcastle, Feyenoord and finally Serie A giants AC Milan, where his honours tally included the UEFA Champions League (2003), the Serie A title (2004) and the Italian Cup (2003). The 33-year-old then resumed his European odyssey, putting in spells with the likes of Villarreal and VfB Stuttgart, before a return to the roots with Feyenoord.
Many commentators have speculated that Tomasson might hang up his boots after the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but the player himself is keeping his options open. "Honestly, I'm not even thinking about finishing right now. It's a question I'm getting quite often these days and I can understand why, but I don't plan to retire any time soon. Fortunately, I have no problems with my body and, as long as that continues, there's no reason to stop. I love playing for my country and I'm very proud to be captain. But you know in football that things can change very quickly so, equally, I don't want to say that I'll play on for many more years because a lot of factors can come into the equation."
The priority for now is the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals, where Tomasson is hoping to lead the 'Dynamite' at least as far as the Round of 16. They achieved that target at Korea/Japan 2002, where the player appeared in all four matches: "To play in a World Cup was a dream come true for me and I remember thinking 'This can't get any better'. The fact we were able to beat France, the reigning champions, was just the icing on the cake."
Tomasson will need all his experience and cunning to help his team finish first or second in a group also including the Dutch, Japan and Cameroon. However, the Danes are bursting with determination, especially after failing to contest the last two major tournaments. "We missed two in a row and it's not like us, so it was something special to qualify for South Africa.
"Everyone wants to be involved in these big tournaments and, over the past 25 years, Denmark has become used to always being there. So it was tough to miss out in 2006 and 2008 and, as a player, you know that you can't let too many of these competitions pass you by."