Denmark Challenges Australia's Dominance in Women's World Cup
Denmark is set to undertake a determined mission to disrupt Australia's celebratory atmosphere and initiate their own jubilant festivities by eliminating the co-hosts from the Women's World Cup. However, achieving victory will prove to be a formidable challenge against one of the tournament favorites, as stated by coach Lars Sondergaard on a Sunday press conference.
In anticipation of their last-16 encounter scheduled for Monday at Stadium Australia, Sondergaard expressed that his team draws strength from their previous 3-2 triumph over the Matildas in 2021. He added that they had gained valuable insights from a 3-1 defeat suffered at the hands of the same opponents the previous year.
Sondergaard addressed the media, stating, "Should we succeed in dampening their celebration, we're more than ready to host our own festivities. While we understand the difficulties that lie ahead, we're optimistic about the opportunities that present themselves."
He continued, "We're living out a surreal dream and our intention is to prolong this dream until the very culmination of the tournament."
Denmark advances to this contest after securing the second spot in Group D, following England. With two victories and one loss, their record mirrors that of Australia, who secured the top position in their group.
Embracing their first entrance into the Round of 16 at a World Cup since 1995, Sondergaard conveyed his unwavering commitment to leave no stone unturned in order to extend their successful run.
"We've meticulously analyzed Australia's most recent performances, particularly those exhibited here in the World Cup. Their evident improvement in form, coupled with their remarkable prowess in counter-attacks and cohesive team dynamics, has not escaped our attention," stated Sondergaard.
"We are acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead. These are the expectations that arise when competing against the elite teams. The level of competition intensifies, and we are well-prepared for this reality. Our self-belief remains steadfast, and we firmly believe that our strategic approach can unsettle Australia."
Despite Australia's captain, Sam Kerr, being sidelined due to injury for the team's group stage matches, Sondergaard acknowledged that the team demonstrated their prowess even in her absence.
Midfielder Janni Thomsen of Denmark emphasized that their motivation remains unwavering. "Our initial objective was to progress beyond the group stage, and we have accomplished that. However, our journey is far from over," Thomsen asserted.
"Our aspirations extend to reaching the final, and while we acknowledge the arduous path ahead, we choose to focus on each individual match. Australia stands as a truly world-class opponent, and we are prepared and determined to secure victory. The prospect of competing in a fervent stadium setting only serves to heighten our enthusiasm."
With determination burning bright, Denmark's pursuit of success continues as they brace themselves to lock horns with Australia in this high-stakes encounter.