Adrian Deans is slowly making his way to Russia. Along the way he is testing the mood of fans from some of the participating countries and the third instalment is Denmark – one of our Group C rivals.
Adrian talks to a rather feisty Peter Lofborg in a Nyhavn bar about Denmark’s prospects this summer.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” said Hamlet, but there’s nothing rotten about their football team. Rated 12 in the world and boasting players like Christian Eriksen they will be a massive handful for the Socceroos.
Adrian: Where exactly does football fit in Danish culture? How important is the national team to the Danish people?
Peter: Football is everything…for me at least. For most Danes it is important but at World Cup time it is super important and there will be parties in the street whenever we play.
Adrian: I see Nicklas Bendtner has been left out.
Peter: I’m a bit sad about that as I like him. Some say he has too much of a big head but for me, a big head…in the right sort of way…can be good for the team. Look at Zlatan for Sweden…such a leader. Bendtner is a little like that. He is a leader on the field and has scored important goals for Denmark.
Adrian: How well are Denmark playing right now?
Peter: Well, speaking of Sweden, we just drew with them in a warm-up friendly, although Eriksen didn’t play. Sweden are a tough team to beat so I am happy enough with that result. Of course, before that we came second in our qualifying group and then smashed Ireland over two legs, so we are in reasonable shape for the finals.
Adrian: Do you know much about the Australian team?
Peter: A little. Australia has a reputation for being fast and physical and your best players tend to play in leagues that are also fast and physical…like England, or Scotland. I have heard of Mooy, and Tom Rogic…also your goalkeeper plays for Brighton. You must have some good players.
Adrian: Did you know Australia are the current Asian champions?
Peter: No, but is that supposed to make me worried?
Adrian: I’m just saying our team have some recent success in tournament play.
Peter: Are you suggesting you can have success in this tournament after how you went in 2014? Zero points, I believe.
Adrian: Australians are always confident. It’s part of our make-up.
Peter: Confidence won’t help you beat Denmark. Or France…or even Peru. I think just one point would mean a successful tournament for Australia.
Adrian: So you’re not worried about the Socceroos?
Peter: Not much. I know they recently beat the Czech Republic but the Czechs had nothing to play for. They were already on holidays. Australia won’t have the technical ability to score against Denmark.
Adrian: You might be surprised there. Plenty of good judges say Tom Rogic is the most technically gifted player in Scotland.
Peter: That wouldn’t be hard.
Adrian: There’s also our new wunderkind, Daniel Arzani. I’m calling him the Australian Messi.
Peter: Hah! He might look like Messi in the Australian league, but the World Cup is very different. I predict a three nil win for Denmark.
Adrian: Well, I predict a 2 – 1 win for Australia.
Peter: Didn’t you tell me you write for a popular football website?
Peter: How can you be a journalist when you have lost all credibility. Australia will beat Denmark when pixies are discovered at the bottom of the garden. France and Denmark will advance from the group and Australia will be last with no points and maybe no goals.
Adrian: Mourinho agrees with me. He says Australia and France will advance.
Peter: You base your argument on Mourinho? Now you have even less credibility!
Adrian: So there you have it. At least one Danish fan supremely confident that they will triumph over Australia in the Group of Death. He hasn’t exactly rocked my confidence that we can get through, but…erm…I don’t know how to finish that sentence.
Adrian’s latest book The Fighting Man is in the shops right now or available through Booktopia. Adrian also wrote Mr Cleansheets.