Denmark coach Morten Olsen described his side's performance in tonight's FIFA World Cup™ victory over Cameroon as "heroic" but admits they will need to improve massively if they are to make any further progress in the tournament.
In the battle between the bottom two teams in Group E, Denmark came out on top in a hugely entertaining encounter in Pretoria after fighting back from an early deficit to win 2-1. Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o put his side ahead in the 10th minute but Denmark drew level thanks to Nicklas Bendtner in the 33rd minute before snatching the win through the impressive Dennis Rommedahl just after the hour mark.
The result means Denmark now face a winner-takes-all encounter with Japan in their final match to join group leaders Holland in the last 16, while Cameroon now have no chance of getting into the knockout stages.
Olsen had mixed emotions after the match, praising his injury-hit side's battling qualities but also lamenting the amount of mistakes they made during the encounter. The most obvious error was the one committed by experienced midfielder Christian Poulsen which led to Eto'o's opening goal.
"We had far too many elementary mistakes that we made and we can't allow that from our players," Olsen said. "We must correct that, so I wasn't happy actually. Of course the players fought heroically, some of them didn't play well today I have to say, but they fought.
"We had Nicklas Bendtner, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Daniel Jensen on the pitch, and those players haven't played much. But that's the way it is, that's why we had to fight so much. We had nothing more to offer, we have too many players who are injured or have been injured.
"So in that respect it was a heroic physical effort, but if we want to progress in this tournament we have a lot to work on. We know that very well."
Denmark, who lost 2-0 to Holland in their opening match, were on the back foot straight away as Cameroon started well. Despite that though, it was the Scandinavians who had the first real chance when Rommedahl blazed over after breaking the offside trap in the sixth minute. Soon after that, Denmark found themselves behind when Poulsen's poor pass was intercepted and immediately resulted in Eto'o firing Cameroon in front.
It was a heroic physical effort, but if we want to progress in this tournament we have a lot to work on.
Olsen added: "We actually didn't start very well. We had one good chance through Rommedahl, and just after that we made an individual mistake and they scored. But we showed spirit, we got back in the game, we showed that we wanted to win.
"We showed things today that we don't want to do again, that's for sure, that we need to talk to the players about over the next couple of days. But we did have a number of chances. Compared to the game with Holland there were more chances.
"We had a heroic fight in defence, but there were other problems as well. It was difficult to get the ball off the opponents and we need to improve on going forward as well."
While Denmark now look forward to their crucial showdown with Japan, Cameroon know their FIFA World Cup will come to an end with their match against the Dutch.
Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen faced questions about his future after the game, but insisted he would not be stepping down. "I will not resign but you have given your view and I respect that," said the Frenchman when asked if he felt he had been tactically out-thought by his counterparts in the tournament.
Regarding his side's defeat and early exit from the tournament, Le Guen added: "It's a great disappointment, we had high hopes, but I think this match shows that we were not really effective enough. We were not able to take the big opportunities we had in the first half and it's a serious disappointment for both us and the Cameroonian nation as a whole."