2010 FIFA Preview: Denmark

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    WIGAN, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Nicklas Bendtner (in red) of Arsenal is tackled by James McCarthy of Wigan Athletic during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Arsenal at the DW Stadium on April 18, 2010 in Wigan, England.

    DENMARK
    FIFA RANK
    : 35

    The Danes come into the World Cup with two things in mind -- restore the glory that made them one of the most competitive sides in Europe throughout the 90's and revive one of the coolest nicknames of all-time ... the "Danish Dynamite."

    The Danes definitely lived up to that nickname in qualifying. They blew through a competitive Euro qualifying group that included Portugal and Sweden to make it to South Africa.

    It brought back memories of Danish squads that won the '92 Euro Cup, the '95 Confederations Cup and made it to the quarter-finals of the '98 World Cup.

    Unfortunately, much hasn't been heard from them since. This will be the Danes first international competition in six years, and they are ready to make up for the lost time.

    Leading Danish Dynamite Version 2.0 (came up with that all by myself) is upcoming star/striker Nicklas Bendtner. The 22-year-old plays for Arsenal, but seems to take it to another level when playing for his home country. Bendtner is the force up front while Liverpool defender Daniel Agger does a tremendous job of anchoring the back line.

    Yet despite that skill and youth, much of Dynamite's 2.0 success lies on the shoulders of its veteran keeper, Thomas Sorensen.

    Sorensen has been between the posts for the Danes for a decade now and was recently cleared to play in the World Cup despite a late season injury with his club team.

    Dynamite 2.0 will defintely need that blend of skill, youth and experience to make it out of a tough group that includes The Netherlands and African power Cameroon.

    Hard to say where the Danes will end up. There's always a European squad that comes out of nowhere to make a nice run (i.e. Ukraine in '06) but because of the opponents ahead, I can't say I see that happening with this team. But this group of players have been known to run through walls for each other and I can't say I would be shocked if DDV2.0 blew up the competition in South Africa.

    MATCH SCHEDULE:
    June 14 vs. Netherlands - 6:30 a.m. CT (One of the best early matches of the Cup, will dictate how Danes play the rest of the way)
    June 19 vs. Cameroon - 1:30 p.m. CT (Wow, couldn't ask for two more difficult opponents to start with, a draw wouldn't be all that bad)
    June 24 vs. Japan - 1:30 p.m. CT (Easiest matchup in group, a must win)

    NEXT ON THE PITCH: GHANA