2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

Danish Dynamite on the goal trail

© FIFA.com

Arsenal, Ajax, Chelsea, AC Milan... at first glance, this might look like a simple list of some of Europe's top clubs, but closer observation reveals that this quartet have all had Danish forwards to thank at some point in their recent history.

When it comes to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Morten Olsen's team will certainly not just be looking to keep it tight at the back and maybe sneak a goal on the break – far from it. The five attackers in Denmark's 30-man preliminary squad – Jon Dahl Tomasson, Soren Larsen, Jesper Gronkjaer, Dennis Rommedahl and Nicklas Bendtner – have no fewer than 300 caps between them, and that experience could prove invaluable once the tournament gets underway.

"We have to accept that we won't be the best team when we get to South Africa," Bendtner, 22, told *FIFA.com. "We'll give it our best shot though. Denmark have already created quite a few surprises over the years, so there's no reason why we can't do the same this time."

The 28-year-old Larsen, his nation's five-goal leading marksman during the qualifiers, added: "Team spirit is our real forte. We have a very tight formation but we can break quickly by passing the ball out wide like the Dutch do, but obviously not to the same standard.

We all fight for each other – if one of us makes a mistake, then two others will run a hundred yards to come and help out. We're not an easy team to play against.

"We all fight for each other – if one of us makes a mistake, then two others will run a hundred yards to come and help out. We had a lot of injuries to deal with during the qualifiers but we still got the results, and that shows not only our fighting spirit but also that we can play a little bit as well. We're not an easy team to play against."

Tomasson, who is Denmark's most-capped player and all-time top scorer, has had a storied career, plying his trade with such top teams as AC Milan, Villarreal and Feyenoord. "We missed out on two important tournaments in a row which is not like us," said the 33-year-old.

"Everyone obviously wants to play at the big events and over the past 25 years, Denmark have got used to being there every time. It was tough not making it through in 2006 and 2008. As a player, you really can't afford to miss out on too many big tournaments."

It remains to be seen whether Tomasson will still be around to help Denmark fight for a berth at Brazil 2014, as he will be 37 by the time the next edition comes around. The same applies to Rommedahl, who is two years younger than the captain and also one of the Danes' most experienced players. Like Bendtner, he does not mince his words when it comes to evaluating the team's chances of progress out of a group that also includes the Netherlands, Cameroon and Japan.

"We ended up being drawn in a tough group but we hope that we'll get through the first phase," said the Ajax player. "If we get into the Round of 16 then I hope we can cause an upset or two, as anything is possible once you reach the knockout stage."

We ended up being drawn in a tough group but we hope that we'll get through the first phase. Anything is possible once you reach the knockout stage.

Like Tomasson, Rommedahl plays his club football in the Eredivisie, heaping extra significance on Denmark's duel with the Dutch. "I obviously know all about Holland," he said. "I'm less up to speed on the Japanese and Cameroon, but I'm sure that the coach will give us all the information we need to make a go of it in South Africa. I'm looking forward to a great tournament, like every World Cup. I can't wait to get to South Africa and I'm itching for the tournament to get underway."

Jesper Gronkjaer is another Dane hoping to enjoy a swansong in South Africa. The 32-year-old played in the final phase in 2002 alongside Rommedahl and Tomasson, and his experience could be decisive for the 1992 European champions. "Our strength is that every player knows his role," Olsen recently remarked to FIFA.com. "We have a plan and a footballing philosophy that we stick to."

Whether the Danes do indeed manage to get through to the knockout phase will depend largely on how well their forwards are firing. They certainly have the skill and the experience. Now all they need to do is click at the right time.

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