Denmark have a secret weapon in their bag when they face off against the Socceroos.
Their assistant coach, Jon Dahl Tomasson used to play under Australian Coach Bert van Marwijk in the early years of the century.
“I know the trainer, I know the coach,’’ Tomasson said before Denmark trained in the Russian coastal city of Anapa yesterday.“He wouldn’t change his game plan, not at all.”
Tomasson was playing for van Marwijk when the Dutch club Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup final in 2002. Tomasson, scorer of 52 goals for Denmark, has kept tabs on his former manager since van Marwijk took over the Socceroos following Ange Postecoglou’s stepping down after successfully qualifying Australia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals.
Tomasson does not reply solely on his connections in the game.
“I also read all the Dutch newspapers and I think they have been working defensively the last couple of weeks,’’ he said.“They have been training on the defensive part you can see that, a solid team, they don’t give spaces away or not much.’’
The Socceroos are carrying much lower odds into the match. Ladbrokes has them at $4.33, far under the price they took into France. Denmark is longer, too, $1.91.
The Danes rely on getting space for their playmaker Christian Eriksen, while the Socceroos will probably take a physical approach and try to outmuscle their more finesse-minded opponents.
Tomasson dismissed that tactic, pointing out that their forward Yussuf Poulsen, who scored the winner in Denmark’s defeat of Peru, is a physical presence in his own right. “Look at this guy, he’s also an animal, we are strong, we are strong as well’’.
Denmark’s players copped to some degree of luck in beating Peru, but luck counts and if they beat Australia, they are a near lock to get into the next round, something they have not done since Tomasson’s playing days.