England’s Second Round opponents in Japan are in action today.
Morten Olsen’s Denmark are one of the sides in World Cup action today, playing their second Group E fixture against Cameroon at Loftus Versfeld this evening.
Eight years ago, however, the Danes met England in the World Cup for the first time, providing our Second Round opponents in the finals hosted by Japan and South Korea.
Sven’s team had qualified relatively easily from the so-called ‘Group of Death’, drawing with Sweden and Nigeria and beating Argentina with David Beckham’s penalty. For their part Denmark had impressively topped a group that included France, the reigning World and European Champions.
It looked a tough match. But the outcome in Niigata was an England victory of convincing proportions and three first-half goals sent us through to our first quarter-final since Italia '90.
The first came after just five minutes, Rio Ferdinand’s far-post header from David Beckham’s corner was fumbled over the line by Sorensen, giving the current England captain his first goal for the Three Lions.
On 22 minutes it was 2-0. Trevor Sinclair’s clever pass into the box was flicked forward by Nicky Butt and Michael Owen, suddenly in a yard of space, pushed a left-footer into the far corner for his first goal of the tournament.
Then the Danes’ hopes were all but extinguished a minute before the break, Emile Heskey storming through the middle to fire past Sorensen from the edge of the box.
Forward Teddy Sheringham came on in the second half to gain his 50th and penultimate cap for England but the score remained 3-0 and a quarter-final clash with Brazil awaited.