Denmark vs. Canada
Soccer: Danes roll over Canada
New Danish find Cornelius scores a hat trick
An inexperienced Canadian side fell victim to a veteran Danish team on Saturday at Kino Stadium. The Danes won the friendly match by an emphatic 4-0, led by a young forward who scored a hat trick.
The difference in experience showed both on the pitch and on the roster sheet: six Canadian players earned their first caps with the national side, while the Danes were led by Dennis Rommedahl, who was earning his 122nd.
Canada had the first chance in the opening moments of the game, when Tosaint Ricketts got the ball upfield and made an errant pass that got picked up by DC United's Dwayne DeRosario. DeRosario's shot was blocked by a Danish defender — the only look at goal that the longtime Canadian forward would have.
The Danes quickly read the seams in the Canadian midfield and defense and capitalized. Rommedahl got the ball up field, and passed it to an open Anders Cornelius. His shot hit the inside of the side netting and gave Denmark the first goal in the 8th minute. Nicolai Jørgensen found Kasper Lorentzen similarly unmarked moments later to give Denmark its second goal.
In the 35th minute, Cornelius put an exclamation point on things by notching his second goal from a ball that came off the post.
Canada switched out their goalkeeper at halftime, but Denmark still dominated proceedings. The back line still had no answer for Cornelius's speed or his radar for the goal and he scored again in the 66th minute. The only thing that stopped Cornelius from scoring more was that the Danish coach subbed the FC København forward out of the game.
The game ended with Canada getting a few looks at the goal as Denmark's bench players were getting used to the field, but that fourth goal sealed things up.
Canada travels to Houston to play against the U.S. national team on Tuesday, Denmark goes up to Glendale to face Mexico on Wednesday.
Peace, Love, Football...
Although the veteran Rommedahl had some great runs and caused gave fits to the Canadian back line all afternoon, it was a new player to the squad that was the star of the game, hat-trick winner Andreas Cornelius.
Nineteen-year-old Cornelius was playing for FC København's youth team until last May, when he managed two appearances for the senior team. Since the start of the current season, he's scored 14 goals. His performance for his club and for Danish youth sides brought him to the attention of Danish coach Morten Olsen.
"I saw him with the under-19 team in May. I never thought in two or three months he could come in the A-team," said Olsen. "In football, it's all about confidence. He started good for FC København...because of his confidence and enthusiasm, he scored a lot of goals."
"A month after the competition started, he was on the national team," Olsen said.
"I've only been with the team for six months," said Cornelius. "I've learned fast. I've learned to get used to it."
Cornelius's goal scoring prowess is a much-needed relief for Danish fans, who have watched their team wallow near the bottom of their World Cup qualifying group with only two goals scored in three matches so far. Mexico will be a much sterner test for Cornelius and the squad.
"They are technical and fast. We will have to play them a lot closer," he said. "It will be a much harder game."