Denmark’s injury worries in attack worsened Sunday, with striker Jon Dahl Tomasson joining Nicklas Bendtner on the list of doubtfuls for the team’s World Cup opener against the Netherlands.
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Denmark coach Morten Olsen said Tomasson and midfielder Daniel Jensen trained separately from the rest of the squad Sunday after picking up "small" injuries.
"It’s doubtful whether those two can play," Olsen said, without giving details of the injuries.
Bendtner has been struggling to recover from a groin problem, and Olsen all but ruled out the Arsenal forward for the opening Group E game at Soccer City on Monday.
"The way it’s looking right now, Bendtner cannot play," Olsen said.
That leaves Denmark with a severe shortage of quality forwards, and Olsen didn’t rule out starting 18-year-old Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen, who is widely regarded as one of the biggest Danish talents in years but is the team’s youngest player and has just three caps.
"He’s good enough," Olsen said. "There’s definitely a chance he’ll play tomorrow, and he may start from kickoff."
But with his two most dangerous strikers in doubt, not even Olsen seemed to be very hopeful of a win against the Dutch, widely regarded as one of the tournament’s most potent attacking teams. Asked what a good result would be for his team, Olsen said: "A draw."
Juventus midfielder Christian Poulsen agreed that the Dutch are the big favorites, but said that allows Denmark to play without any pressure.
"It’s a bonus match, really," Poulsen said. "They are one of the favorites for the tournament. We can only surprise. If we have a very good match, perhaps we can."
Liverpool defender Daniel Agger noted that Denmark isn’t a team that relies on individual performances anyway.
"We don’t win matches because of one player who is outstanding," Agger said. "We can’t do that. We play as a team and we fight for each other."