Sunday, 5 February, 2023

Emotions high for Denmark in must-win clash

Emotions high for Denmark in must-win clash

DOHA: Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand admitted on Tuesday that "emotions are very, very high" for their must-win World Cup clash against a dogged Australia, reports AFP.

With holders France already qualified for the last 16 from Group D, Australia are in pole position to join them in the knockout rounds with three points from two games.

Going into the final round of Group D games today, Denmark are third and Tunisia fourth, both with one point.

Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark must beat Australia and hope Tunisia do not do likewise against France if they are to extend their stay in Qatar.

Hjulmand said "everyone is ready" and he has no fitness concerns, but he conceded the pressure is on for a team who had been expected prior to the tournament to progress along with France.

"It is a World Cup so emotions are very, very high and football is wonderful -- with football you can multiply your feelings by 10, the fear of losing is (also) very, very much involved.

"How can we best handle that? These considerations you have to make."

Denmark were held 0-0 by Tunisia in their opener and then lost 2-1 to a Kylian-Mbappe inspired France to leave them in deep trouble.

Meanwhile, Australia coach Graham Arnold said on Tuesday that his team's exploits at the Qatar World Cup can "put football on the map" at home and unite the nation.

Australia are on the cusp of reaching the last 16 for only the second time in their history, matching the achievement of a "golden generation" who made the same stage in 2006.

Victory over Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark today will guarantee a spot in the knockout rounds while a draw could also be enough.

"I've said many times: it's not about me, it's about the game in Australia," said Arnold.

"To leave a legacy is huge," added Arnold, 59, who was assistant coach to Guus Hiddink at the 2006 World Cup, where Australia boasted the likes of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill.

"So it's about putting the game on the map a bit more in Australia.

"But again, there's so much more work to do... it's crazy."