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World Cup 2nd Round Preview: Denmark V England
Denmark - England | News Archive

Tomasson has scored twice as many goals as the entire England squad - but will he be fit to play? (Allsport)
06/14/2002. BACKGROUND

No sooner has the group stages come to an end than the knock phase begins in this competition which began with an unpredictable result and has continued in such a vein throughout.

Whilst high-profile casualties such as France and Argentina, arguably the two pre-tournament favourites, have fallen by the way-side, Denmark and England have made it, partially at the expense of those two giants, and will meet head-to-head on Saturday evening local time at Niigata for a place in the quarter-finals.

The Danes have surprised a few people this past two weeks, battling their way through a tough group which included France, Uruguay, and fellow surprise packet, Senegal. A combination of good finishing, dogged persistence, and a little stroke of luck, saw them top Group A ahead of the Africans, and unless you are French, very few would argue with their position in the last 16.

The Danes have not been spectacular in the sense that their football has not necessarily caught the eye. A late win over the South Americans was followed by a draw against Senegal, and qualification was clinched with a stunning win over current Champions France, although they were grateful that a couple of boderline incidents and decisions went in their favour.

If the Danes came through a tricky group, then spare a thought for England who were drawn in the original Group of Death. Ultimately, they finished second behind Sweden, with the real shock coming with the elimination of Argentina. Nigeria, whose only point came against England, propped up the table.

As per usual, England didn't make it easy for their fans in the slightest, having taken the lead against Sweden they were then pegged back, which led the expectant nation to feel that `here we go again`. Apprehension turned to absolute jubilation with victory over Argentina, and whilst the goalless draw over Nigeria was good enough, the fact that Argentina failed to beat Sweden simply confirmed the qualification.

CURRENT FORM

Denmark: WWWWDW: This must be one of the best recent records in World football! Prior to the tournament, the Danes beat Israel, Cameroon and Tunisia, although they did concede one goal in each game, and have of course seen off Uruguay and France in the Far East. The only blemish was the 1-1 draw with Senegal in the group phases, but its worth pointing out that the 2-0 win over France was their first clean sheet in six games.

England: WDDDWD: Not quite as impressive at the Danes, but nonetheless England are unbeaten since Italy won late on at Elland Road at the end of March. The world cup warm up matches were a little stuttery after beating Paraguay comfortably, as England drew with both Cameroon and South Korea. This trend has continued in the WC proper with parity gained against Sweden and Nigeria, however the crucial win against Argentina was the result that mattered, both for the team and the nation!

TEAM NEWS

Denmark's golden boot contender, Jon Dahl Tomasson, is the primary concern for the Danes having collected a thigh injury earlier in the week. Things looked bleak for him a day or two ago, however he is expected to start the game, although the versatile Martin Jorgensen or Claus Jensen would replace him if he does miss out

Jan Heintze is the oldest outfield player at the World Cup at 39 and is
Denmark's captain. He was replaced by Niclas Jensen against France because
he struggled with the heat against Senegal, but should return to face
England. The rest of the defence is set in stone. Tofting and Gravesen are the central midfielders and are certain starters.

Tomasson is actually a midfielder for Denmark and will almost certainly play
in midfield against England assuming he overcomes his thigh injury, with Ebbe Sand the lone striker. Tomasson played upfront instead of Sand against France with Poulsen going into midfield to give them more a defensive look if the game got tight and for Poulsen to mark Zidane. Gronkjaer and Rommedahl are the widemen/forwards, although Martin Jorgensen could start. Christian Poulsen is suspended for the match after picking up two bookings.

England will stick with the same back five that have served them so well in the group stages, with David Seaman in goal and a back four of Danny Mills and Ashley Cole at the full-back position, whilst Sol Campbell and the impressive Rio Ferdinand solidifying the centre of defence.

Owen Hargreaves is set to miss out for the second game in succession after failing to recover from his knee injury sustained in a collision with Michael Owen against Argentina, leaving Trevor Sinclair to start on the left of midfield, David Beckham on the right and his Manchester United team mates Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt in the centre.

Up front, neither of the Liverpool pair of Michael Owen and Emile Heskey have managed to find the net as yet, and whilst the likes of Darius Vassell and Robbie Fowler await patiently in the wings, Eriksson is likely to stick with his preferring front pairing.

PROBABLE STARTING XI's

Denmark: 4-5-1 - Sorensen; Heintze, Henriksen, Laursen, Helveg; Tofting, Gravesen, Tomasson, Gronkjaer, Rommedahl; Sand

England: (4-4-2): Seaman; Mills, Ferdinand, Campbell, Cole; Beckham, Scholes, Butt, Sinclair; Owen, Heskey

WHO'S HOT

Denmark: Jon Dahl Tomasson. Prior to the WC, I was sent a `jokey` email with a list of 50 things to watch for during the tournament. Number 44: A player who stunk the Premiership out looking like a superstar! Okay, so this may be a little unfair on Tomasson who failed to impress at Newcastle a couple of seasons ago, however at the World Cup he has netted four goals in three games and very much in the running for the Golden Boot.

England: Rio Ferdinand. The Leeds United defender has been absolutely colossal against both Argentina and Nigeria and has looked every inch a World Class performer. If you believe the tabloids, he is being targeted by clubs throughout England and Europe and there's little argument that his value has increased over the last two weeks.

WHO'S NOT

Denmark: I find it difficult to criticise a team that has just beaten the World and European Champions to top their group, but Dennis Rommedahl, despite scoring the opener against France, has not set the World alight with his wing play. His crossing has been mediocre, while he has shown little sign of being able to beat players either. He has been able to keep his place in the team
though, due to the unimpressive performance's of his likely replacement
Martin Jorgensen.

England: Emile Heskey. Despite playing in his more favoured position up front, the Liverpool striker continues to struggle to show any semblance of form. He has shown what he can produce with Leicester and Liverpool, but like John Barnes before him, the step up to international level is a step too far, aside from occasional exceptions.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

The nations have met on fourteen previous occasions, although this is the first meeting in over eight years since England won 1-0 at Wembley in 1994. The English have had the better of things overall with nine wins to Denmark's one, however that particular triumph for the Danes remains written in their folklore as they won a European Championship qualifier at Wembley in 1983 by 1-0. In the five meetings since that game, neither nation has managed more than one goal, with one clash ending goalless.

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Man to man we have the better side.I wouldnt swap many English players for Danish players...infact none

If we play to our potential and have all players focused we can take this game by the scruff of the neck and go on to the quarters to meet Brazil which would be fantastic.

COME ON ENGLAND!!!
 
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