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World Soccer: Why is Morten Olsen such a good international coach?

He has a good blend. He does his homework, he’s organised, he’s always got a Plan A, B, C and D. He scouts his players really well and he has a set philosophy of how he wants the team to play. He doesn’t necessarily pick the players who look the best on paper but those who fit his system. He has had great success with that. When you have been a national coach for 12 years you have to get on with your players and he does that. We all have great respect for him. He will phone you when you get injured; if your wife gives birth there
is a card from him. He is tough but also caring. What he’s done is incredible.

Thomas Sorensen: What’s the mood like in the dressing room ahead of Euro 2012?

There is a big task ahead in our group. We definitely have two of the best teams in the world against us, and Portugal are not far behind, but it’s a challenge and we feel we can upset one or two teams. Our aim is to get through to the next stage. If everyone is fit and playing well then it’s possible. We don’t have 50 players like England or Spain, who can just drop another man in. We depend
on our best players being there.

How does this team compare to those at previous tournaments?

The way we played in the qualifiers makes this one of the best Denmark sides that I have been involved with.
We played really well. In 2002 and 2004 we had good, experienced sides. At the 2010 World Cup a lot of things didn’t go right for us – too many injuries for a start. It looks a lot brighter now with youngsters like Christian Eriksen coming through.

Can you remember watching Denmark’s 1992 European Championship triumph?

Yes, of course. Anyone in Denmark above the age of five back then remembers that time. It was amazing, but sometimes things work out for the best when they come unexpectedly.
It was a great summer. I was 12 years old, I watched it at home and then celebrated on the streets with what seemed like the whole country.

What qualities does Daniel Agger bring as captain of Denmark?

He is composed on the ball, a good defender and leader. He is a winner and that’s what you like in a captain. What he lacks in physical strength he makes up for by being clever in his positional play. He is a good penalty taker as well, and so precise with his passing.

Who are your other key players?

Every team has to score goals and Nicklas Bendtner has been important for us in the qualifiers. We need him on top form. Christian Eriksen may get his big breakthrough. He is top quality, still learning but hopefully he can do very well. There is also William Kvist who has come a long way in the past few years. He played well against Barcelona in the Champions League when at Copenhagen and that gave him the confidence to move to a new level at Stuttgart.

Who are your tournament favourites?

You can’t count out Germany, Spain and Holland but you never know, there can be surprises. Look at Greece in 2004 and us in 1992.

Who were the biggest influences on you as a goalkeeper?

Peter Schmeichel was one, of course. I trained with him for a few years with the national team. He opened the door for a lot of us to come to English football. There was also Lars Hogh at my first club OB Odense. He is now the national team’s goalkeeping coach and played in the 1986 World Cup. He taught me from the age of 16 and I learned so much.

What was it like to win your 100th cap earlier this year?

It was a fantastic thing to achieve and to look back on when you finish your career. Not that many players can say they made 100 appearances for their country.

Interview by Jim Holden

*Unfortunately, an injury picked up in a pre-tournament friendly intertnational against Brazil, meant that Sorensen had to sit out the Euro 2012 finals.

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