By Robert Forsaith
There was one line in Denmark coach Morten Olsen’s post-match media conference on Tuesday night that aptly described his side’s 2-0 win over Cyprus in Copenhagen.
Some visiting journalists had asked for a translation of Olsen’s thoughts. After some more general musings, he delivered something with a bit more sizzle.
“You (Cyprus) made four goals in Portugal and it was fantastic, but I think today you had nothing,” Olsen quipped.
The comment, cutting as it was, could not be more on the mark. The visitors had nothing.
Danish expats and other punters looking for in-depth analysis of the Euro 2012 qualifier should seek out some stories that detail the home side’s multitude of chances.
Ultimately they would be wasting their time.
Denmark looked like scoring throughout the game. Furthermore, the major reason for the scoreless deadlock at halftime was not Cyprus’ defending, desperate as it may have been. The home side could easily have been up 3-0 at the major break.
Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, who recently confirmed Manchester United’s interest in his services, had no chance to impress anyone.
He had a quiet night. A very quiet night.
There was a brief and solitary moment in the second half when it looked like Lindegaard might finally be tested, but Cyprus’ single striker Michael Constantinou came unstuck before he could unleash anything.
In many ways, Olsen had every right to be pleased with his side’s performance.
The men in red outclassed the visitors in every way possible and now have six points from three matches.
However the Danish football legend would be well aware the path to qualification is a long one.
He won’t have forgotten the miserable 3-1 loss to Portugal. The defeat had clearly stung the players, who predictably responded in style.
The test (and indeed the contest that will give us a good idea of who is likely to join Portugal in qualifying from Group H) is yet to come.
Olsen will have to wait five months until his team’s next Euro 2012 qualifier, an away clash against rivals Norway – who lead the group courtesy of a shock win over Portugal.
Denmark could easily snaffle maximum points from the trip, especially if they produce the same attacking flair that was on display against Cyprus.
Their slick ball movement was impressive. It deserved praise.
Olsen delivered and looked to be a proud man after the match.
“Before the game we told ourselves we had to show what kind of team we are, and I think we showed that,” he said.
Perhaps they did. We won’t know the character of this side until they lock horns with Norway on March 26, 2011.
Ultimately the positive result against Cyprus will be wasted if Denmark produces another timid showing on the road.