Former winners facing tournament's 'group of death'

Euro 2012 team
Euro 2012 team

Team Profile: Having won the tournament once before in 1992 thanks to the talents of the Laudrup brothers and, erm, John Jensen, the Danes must now rely on the likes of Nicklas Bendtner to squeeze goals past the Dutch, Germans and Portuguese in what is arguably the tournament’s toughest group. Good luck with that. However, if there was ever a man to steer a team through such a tough draw, then it would have to be Morten Olsen, the only man in history to reach 100 international games as a player and coach, plus he’s coached Denmark for a full 12 years. Still, don’t expect to see the Danes reach the quarter-finals.

Coach: Morten Olsen
The former defensive midfielder played a key role in his days as a player for Denmark, and he continues to exert that influence as the side’s manager. Appointed in 2000, Olsen guided the Danes to the knock-out stages of both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, but his team failed to qualify for the following two major tournaments. And although he returned to the limelight of international football two years ago at the World Cup in South Africa, the team dropped out in the group stage. Euro 2012 may well be his last attempt at glory, as he has expressed a desire to step down.

Player to watch: Christian Eriksen
Having grown into a key player for Dutch side Ajax in recent months, the young attacking midfielder has shown great promise and it’s hoped he’ll reach the lofty heights of fellow countryman and Danish legend Michael Laudrup. He completed trials at both Barcelona and Chelsea, before eventually signing for Ajax. He had to content himself with two appearances as a substitute at the 2010 World Cup, but there’s no doubt he’ll play a far more significant role in this year’s championships.

Fact Sheet

FIFA World Ranking: 9
UEFA Euro Ranking: 13
Number of Euro appearances: 13
Previous best: Winners in 1992
Qualification: Winners of Group H – 15 goals scored, 6 goals against, 44 attempts on target, 38 corners
Form (qualifying): WLWDWWWW
Fixtures: June 9 vs. Netherlands; June 13 vs. Portugal; June 17 vs. Germany

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