|Profiles - World Cup Teams - Denmark|
A rejuvenated Denmark swept past Iceland 6-0 and into their third World
Cup finals with a style and aggression that is fast becoming their signature.
That victory, which secured Denmark first place in group three and a ticket to South Korea and Japan, underlined the return to form of the 1992 European champions.
It came after 15 months of meticulous reshaping of the team by coach Morten Olsen in the wake of a woeful performance at Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands, where the Danes, under Swedish trainer Bo Johansson, failed to win a single match - or even score a goal.
Following that miserable tournament, Denmark's renaissance can be directly attributed to Olsen, a former Danish international defender and coach for Ajax Amsterdam in the late 1990s, who has remoulded the team into a stylish, flexible, attacking outfit.
'Unlike previous Danish teams, Olsen's squad are all attack-minded regardless of their position,' says TV and radio commentator Jens Joergen Brinck.
'He insists on technically brilliant, forward-moving, flexible players. Attacking wingers are his trademark.'
Taking over as national trainer in July 2000, Olsen replaced Johansson's 4-4-2 system with a more aggressive 4-3-3 formation that he used with success at Ajax.
Denmark's first match under Olsen was an away friendly against the Faroe Islands in August 2000. It ended in a 2-0 victory for the Danes and saw five newcomers given a chance. Among them were promising young strikers like PSV Eindhoven's Dennis Rommedahl and Chelsea's Jesper Groenkjaer.
In defence, Rene Henriksen of Panathinaikos guarantees a solid performance while in midfield, Everton's Thomas Gravesen and Hamburg SV's Stig Toefting have built a close understanding.
Denmark had their ups and downs in qualification but still emerged unbeaten. After a good start against Iceland, they had draws against Northern Ireland and Bulgaria.
Star striker Ebbe Sand of Germany's Schalke 04 proved his worth in a March 2001 qualifier against Malta, scoring a hat-trick in the 5-0 victory.
A goalless draw with the Czech Republic followed but Denmark won the return match 2-1. In June two goals by Sand, the winner in the 83rd minute, saved Denmark from near-humiliation against Malta with a 2-1 victory.
After a frustrating home 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland in September, hopes of automatic qualification plummeted, only to be revived by a 2-0 triumph against Bulgaria in Sofia with John Dahl Tomasson scoring both goals.
Denmark qualified for the World Cup finals in 1986 and 1998 where they reached the quarter-finals.
Now all of Denmark hopes this new attacking style will pay dividends.