UEFA Euro 2012: Olsen jealous of favourites Dutch

Denmark's veteran coach Morten Olsen admitted on Friday he was jealous of his side's opening Euro 2012 opponents Holland and cast his side as Group B underdogs.

Updated: June 09, 2012 13:05 IST
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Kharkiv: Denmark's veteran coach Morten Olsen admitted on Friday he was jealous of his side's opening Euro 2012 opponents Holland and cast his side as Group B underdogs.

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The 62-year-old - the only man to have been capped and coached a national side over 100 times - said he wasn't being overly pessimistic just realistic as his side is in the 'Group of Death' which also includes three-time champions Germany and Portugal, who the Danes edged in their qualifying group.

"I am a little jealous when I see the Dutch," said Olsen, who has been in charge since 2000 and has guided the Danes to four major finals.

"They are clearly the favourites. It is not me being pessimistic but realism.

"That is not to say that I do not have great hopes for my team. We qualified in impressive fashion after all.

"But if we look at the talent of the Dutch, it is not lying to say they are the favourites.

"And it is not me bluffing. This will still be the case for us against Germany and Portugal.

"And I am not saying that because it suits me to. I would prefer to be favourites. That would be to say on paper we had the better side.

"But the World Cup runners up are the Dutch not the Danes. If they don't become European champions, they will be disappointed.

"For us, our tournament will be a success if we progress from the group."

Olsen, who career is most impressive given he had to battle a debilitating loss of hearing since the 1970s which got so bad he could hardly hear anything at all during matches until rescued by a revolutionary hearing aid, said the Dutch were even stronger than the side that beat them in their first game at the 2010 World Cup.

"I would hope we will do better than in 2010," said the former Danish skipper, who captained the impressive side that reached the Euro 1984 finals and the 1986 World Cup finals.

"But I believe the Dutch are even stronger today than they were then.

"Today Arjen Robben appears to be in tip top form (he was injured when they played in 2010). With him and Ibrahim Afellay on the flanks, this team is today even quicker (in 2010, Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart were the wingers)."

Olsen, who had thought of retiring from the post at the culmination of this competition but instead signed a contract till 2014, denied that the Dutch would treat his team with disrespect.

"The Dutch are not arrogant. They are confident and sure of their strengths, that is different.

"I don't think they will take this match for granted.

"Our qualities? Our preparations have been very good.

"The majority of the guys are fresh and in good form physically, like Nicklas Bendtner. He is 100% fit. I am expecting him to perform at his best on Saturday."

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