Denmark boss says mental edge will decide Australia clash


Soccer Football - World Cup - Denmark Training - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - June 20, 2018 ...
Soccer Football - World Cup - Denmark Training - Samara Arena, Samara, Russia - June 20, 2018 Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel during training REUTERS/David Gray

In Summary

  • Denmark believe their World Cup Group C encounter with Australia on Thursday will be won and lost, not just on the pitch, but in the minds of the players
  • The Danes won their opening match 1-0 against Peru in a performance that was far from reflective of their impressive World Cup qualifying campaign

Denmark believe their World Cup Group C encounter with Australia on Thursday will be won and lost, not just on the pitch, but in the minds of the players.

The Danes won their opening match 1-0 against Peru in a performance that was far from reflective of their impressive World Cup qualifying campaign.

Coach Aage Hareide expects his team to be better prepared for their clash with Australia.

“It is about mental strength. The matches are quite close to each other so we need to rest and be ready for the coming game, and it is actually more about keeping your head clear. Those who keep their heads clear end up winning the match,” Hareide told a news conference on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who hasn’t conceded an international goal for 534 minutes, breaking the record previously held by his father Peter, agreed.

The players were asked about their gesture of clubbing together to help defender Jonas Knudsen fly home to see his new-born daughter shortly after victory over Peru in their first match of the World Cup.

Knudsen’s wife Trine gave birth to a baby girl several weeks earlier than planned and after the defender had already arrived in Russia.

In a gesture of team unity, the players decided to pay for a private jet to fly Knudsen home shortly after the 1-0 win against Peru on Saturday.

“I think you have to remember we are human beings as well as footballers,” said Schmeichel. “As a father myself I cannot imagine how hard it was for Jonas getting that message and not being there”.

It was only a brief visit for Knudsen, who returned to the camp on Monday in preparation for Denmark’s meeting with Australia on Thursday in Samara.

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