Danes hope June streak sticks

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/footballgeneric1.jpg' class='caption'> Denmark hopes to defend its perfect home record in June as it hosts archrival Sweden in a European Championship qualifier on Saturday.

Updated: June 02, 2007 18:24 IST
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Copenhagen, Denmark:

Denmark hopes to defend its perfect home record in June as it hosts archrival Sweden in a European Championship qualifier on Saturday.

Both sides promise a fierce battle in their 98th international encounter, a Nordic showdown in which regional bragging rights and Group F supremacy are at stake.

"Our game doesn't have to be beautiful. In this type of match all that matters is the result," Danish striker Jon Dahl Tomasson said.

The Danes need three points to revive their lackluster qualifying campaign, while the Swedes will be content with a draw to share the group lead with Northern Ireland.

The Swedish roster includes in-form forwards Johan Elmander of Toulouse and Werder Bremen's Markus Rosenberg, while Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is uncertain after undergoing groin surgery in April.

"So far so good, but match and training are two different things," Ibrahimovic said Thursday at the Swedish training camp in Stockholm. "I haven't played a competitive match for a month and before that I needed painkillers to play."

Svensson, Wilhemsson doubtful

Midfielders Anders Svensson and Christian Wilhemsson are also doubtful for Saturday's match while injured Kim Kallstrom of Lyon has already been ruled out.

Denmark, shock winners of the 1992 European Championship, is counting on defenders Daniel Agger and Lars Jacobsen overcoming ankle and foot injuries in time for the game.

Up front, coach Morten Olsen is likely to form a three-prong attack with veterans Dahl Tomasson, Martin Jorgensen and Jesper Groenkjaer. He could also field strikers Niclas Bendtner and newcomer Morten Rasmussen.

"We are under pressure," Olsen acknowledged. Denmark is in fourth place after losing away to Spain and only managing a draw at home against group leader Northern Ireland.

Danish media have sought to discourage the Swedes with statistics: Denmark has never lost a European Championship or World Cup qualifier at home in June.

On the other hand, Sweden leads the internal numbers game with 44 wins against Denmark's 36. They have tied 17 times, including a 2-2 draw that sent both sides to the quarterfinals of Euro 2004 at Italy's expense.

That's also the last time the Scandinavian rivals clashed in a competitive match.

"My feeling is that the Swedish team is stronger today than in 2004," Dahl Tomasson said.

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