herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Olsen: I'm awake to risk we'll fall asleep

DENMARK coach Morten Olsen has urged his squad to guard against complacency after their surprise opening Group B win over Holland.

The Danes face Portugal tonight knowing a second victory could put them into the quarter-finals with a match to spare.

A win over Holland had seen Olsen's side likened to the team which came from nowhere to win the 1992 European Championships as late replacements for Yugoslavia.

The Denmark coach insists times have changed significantly since then, but admits beating the Dutch did wonders for morale.

"It has given us a real lift and built confidence but we cannot fall asleep now," he said.

"Portugal were unlucky against Germany (losing 1-0), while we needed good fortune ourselves -- we needed it to be our day. You must dream but you have to appreciate how different football is today.

"If we get through the group stage it would be like winning the tournament back in 1992.

"I don't want to compare with 1992. We are not favourites against Portugal, we're not favourites against the top teams, but we want to find our own game.

"A coach's job is to find players that complement one another. We have a real team that works hard for each other. Other teams have stars, we have a team.

"It's true that we are closer to making it out of the group than we were before the first game, but we are not there yet."

Portugal coach Paulo Bento remains confident his side can qualify for the quarter-finals despite losing their opener in the 'Group of Death'.

"I continue to think we can get through to the quarter-finals," he said. "We've only won one of the last four against Denmark but we don't dwell on past games.

"This is another time, in different circumstances.

"Denmark are in a more comfortable position and the Germany defeat has left us in a difficult situation but we have been here before."

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