What are the expectations for the team?
To get through the initial group stage. After that the team will be expected to lose, as they nearly always do, most likely to Italy in this case. The core of the team is solid: Thomas Sorensen, Simon Kjaer, Daniel Agger, Christian Poulsen and Nicklas Bendtner. The problem lies with the remaining 18 members of the squad – they’re either too old or not talented enough.
Is the coach popular?
Morten Olsen is very popular among Danes with football knowledge, ie one per cent of the population. They recognise the fact that he set up an incomplete and injury-stricken team to get past Portugal and Sweden in the qualifiers. The paradox is that the remaining 99 per cent think he is too technical and serious.
Are there any players with unusual hobbies or business interests?
Martin Jorgensen will take over his family tourist bus company, when he (hopefully soon) ends his career. Fiorentina central defender Per Kroldrup knows his classic literature and can be overheard quoting Camus and Dostoevsky, but he is also hesitant to talk about it. Bendtner’s latest interest is a 34-year-old Danish baroness and mother of two, recently divorced from Rory Fleming (nephew of James Bond creator Ian Fleming).
Who are the best and worst interviewees?
Not much can be expected from people who left school to become professional players in Dutch/German/English industrial cities, had their first kid nine months later, only read the sports pages and are now preparing for a second career as an agent or coach.
Is the team likely to have any unusual goal celebrations?
Any Danish goal is a genuine surprise. This is apparently also true for the players themselves. Therefore, they most often run straight ahead in apparent bewilderment, until tiring and throwing themselves on their backs.
Have the team recorded a song for the World Cup?
No, but TV satirist Simon Kvamm and his Depeche Mode-influenced band, Nephew, have recorded The Danish Way to Rock. It’s unusual as World Cup songs go and so is not likely be a major hit.
Will there be many fans travelling to South Africa?
Not many Danish supporters will be going. One, it is too far away and expensive. Two, it’s unrealistic that Denmark will do more than qualify from the group stages. Talking of Denmark doing well at international level, fans still sing chants created for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Most Danes still believe that the squad for that tournament, with players like Soren Lerby, Frank Arnesen, Preben Elkjær, Michael Laudrup and Morten Olsen, was the best ever Denmark team – even better than the Euro 92 winners. Therefore Danish football fans tend to put up with lyrics like Halli halli hallo, vi vinder i Mexico (We will win in Mexico). Kasper Steenbach