Denmark Camp Focus – Olsen sweats over key injuries

Denmark may have secured a 2-0 victory over Senegal but there are injury concerns ahead of the World Cup. Mikkel Beckmann was substituted at half-time with an ankle injury and Simon Kjaer was stretchered off late on after sustaining a knee injury. The Palermo defender was making a last-ditch tackle denying Manchester United’s Mame Biram Diouf from scoring but it might come at a cost.

Morten Olsen and his staff looked on with worried faces as their young player might face the prospect of missing out in June. The 21-year-old has caught the eye of several top Premier League teams and by playing in the World Cup he could push forward a move away from Italy with good performances. Kjaer had broken into the first team as the replacement for an injured Per Kroldrup during the qualifying campaign. After impressing he earned his right to stay in the side and has improved ever since. Beckmann on the other hand required an ice pack on a sore ankle. The Randers FC playmaker made his third appearance but it us unclear as to whether he will feature anymore for his country this season.

Striker Nicklas Bendtner was withdrawn from the squad for the match just days before, as he had been struggling with a groin injury. The Arsenal front-man was out for the winter period with the same injury. A recurrence of the problem will come as a worry for the Coach but Bendtner is confident he will be fit and able to play. He may be able to get himself fit for the opener against the Netherlands but questions will be asked as to whether he can last the full length of the Danes’ World Cup challenge. Of course there was no need to risk him for the friendly as playing him could have aggravated the injury even further. The Gunners striker is an important player and without his tall and muscular presence the Reds chances of progressing through to the knockout stage could be dealt a major blow.

The game itself featured very few chances with a mix of Senegal unwilling to attack and Denmark players making sure they stay free of injury. Juventus’ Christian Poulsen broke the deadlock when he poked in from close range. There was no real shock when the goal scorer Poulsen was substituted at half-time but the change in goal has stirred more mystery as to who will be the No.1. With Thomas Sorensen currently injured there was a chance to impress the boss. Kim Christensen made his first start for his nation but had little to do, none the less he kept a clean-sheet. After making two appearances in the qualifying stage, Stephan Andersen was expected to play a part but he was over-looked. F.C. Copenhagen’s Jesper Christiansen made a second half appearance in which he also let in no goals. They all have a chance of starting against the Netherlands if the Stoke City stopper fails to make the cut.

Dennis Rommedahl’s disappointing performance will surely cast doubt over his chances of making the final squad to South Africa. The former Charlton Athletic midfielder saw plenty of the ball but his shooting and passing was off-key. The 31-year-old Ajax winger has not scored for his country since 2007, a statistic that was in no danger of being broken in against Senegal. Substitute Thomas Enevoldsen looked lively when he came on and scored the second goal in the last minute of stoppage-time. His dribbling looked especially good, sending a real statement of intention to start in their next game.

The squad will now travel to South Africa where they will play Australia in their last friendly on June 1. It is the Head Coach’s last chance to assess his squad before he has to whittle it down to 23 players. There has been no further news as to whether Thomas Sorenson or Nicklas Bendtner will be fit but the final squad announcement will give us a very clear indication as to who will play. The choice of playing Senegal was to give the Danes a taste of African opposition before they play Group E outfit Cameroon on Saturday June 19. A win has surely given them the confidence to produce a similar result against Paul Le Guen’s side.

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