Bendtner doubtful for Danes
Striker struggling for fitness ahead of crunch match
By Razwan Mirza. Last Updated: 23/06/10 9:47pm
Bendtner: Injury woes
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner is a serious doubt for his country's decisive World Cup Group E encounter against Japan on Thursday with a groin injury.
The injury has plagued the 22-year-old for almost the entire season and head coach Morten Olsen has revealed that the Arsenal forward has only been able to train on alternate days due to the long-term problem.
The 60-year-old will make a late decision on whether Bendtner will start at Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Stadium in a game which Denmark must win to reach the second round.
"You have followed Nicklas's programme, he is quite alright," said Olsen.
"By necessity he does not train every other day and every time he plays we have to wait to see what the reaction is. There is always a doubt with an injury like that so we have to wait and see."
Bendtner's striker partner and captain Jon Dahl Tomasson is also struggling with a hamstring problem while Olsen confirmed that midfielder Daniel Jensen had been ruled out with a recurrence of an Achilles injury.
Olsen though remains supremely confident that his side will maintain the country's proud record of having progressed beyond the first round in their three previous World Cup appearances.
"We have our problems with injuries but I will be very disappointed if we do not go through," he said.
The coach also expressed his respect for Japan, who only need a draw to book a spot in the last 16, thanks to a superior goal difference.
"I said before the tournament that Japan was one of the teams that could surprise people who know nothing about Asian football," revealed Olsen.
"They fight for each other and the team. You saw the Dutch team, with all the quality that they have, they had many problems against Japan.
"But my team can perform better than we have done so far and that is what we will need to do."