Wembley Stadium, London
March 05, 2014; 20:00 BST
England host Denmark in an international friendly tonight at Wembley as Roy Hodgson looks to experiment with his side ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. The last friendly between these two sides was back in 2011 and England won that away game 1-2 with Ashley Young scoring the winner in the second half. The last time Denmark defeated England was back in 2005, when they dismantled the Three Lions 4-1. But Morten Olsen’s men have endured a fairly disappointing World Cup qualification campaign and finished second to Italy in the group, eventually failing to qualify for the next round. Olsen will now look to rebuild his side for the Euro, while England looks forward to the big tournament in Brazil this year.
Team news and tactics
Roy Hodgson did have some injury concerns to contain with while selecting his squad for the game, especially in the defense. Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones and Kyle Walker were all unavailable for selection due to fitness concerns and Hodgson is expected to experiment with his side for this game as he prepares for World Cup in Brazil.
England’s last international friendly was against Germany back in November, which they lost 1-0 as Per Mertesacker scored the winner. Hodgson is expected to make as many as five changes to the side that started against Germany. Hodgson has already confirmed that Everton left back Leighton Baines won’t feature in this game as he looks to provide opportunities to Luke Shaw and Ashley Cole in each half. The Southampton youngster is expected to make his first international start for England in this game.
Shaw will feature at the back along with Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Glenn Johnson. The Liverpool right back will win his 50th England cap tonight, Hodgson has confirmed. Tom Cleverley, who has come under a lot of criticism recently, is unlikely to start in this match despite all the back from the England manager in the pre-match press conference. He will likely to be replaced by his Manchester United team mate Michael Carrick in the pivot alongside Steven Gerrard.
Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has impressed a lot this season, will win another start for England on the right, as he looks to book a place on the flight to Brazil, replacing his injured club mate Theo Walcott. Adam Lallana, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge will keep their place in attack.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart (GK); Johnson, Smalling, Cahill, Shaw; Carrick, Gerrard; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rooney, Lallana; Sturridge
Morten Olsen has two injury concerns as well with both Martin Braithwate and Christian Eriksen unavailable for selection due to injury concerns. Eriksen is part of the squad for this friendly, but he will undergo late fitness ahead of this game and Olsen has assured Tottenham Hotspur that he won’t risk Eriksen unless he is 100% fit for this game. Hence it looks unlikely that the former Ajax play-maker will start in this game.
Denmark’s last international fixture after their disappointing World Cup qualification campaign was against Norway, back in November last year. Olsen is expected to make four changes to the line-up he used against Norway in that game. Andreas Bjelland will replace Kjaer in the center of the defence, as he resumes his partnership with Liverpool defender Daniel Agger. Jesper Kristensen will make only his second appearance for the national side at the left back, as replaces Boilesen.
With Eriksen unlikely to feature, Jakob Poulsen will partner William Kvist and Niki Zimling in the center of the park. Former Auxerre attacker Thomas Kahlenberg will return to the starting line-up in place of Larsen on the right, while Nicklas Bendtner and Michael Krohn-Dehli retain their place in the side. Kahlenberg’s return will add a lot more experience in attack, while Krohn-Dehli provides the spark.
Morten Olsen is expected to switch to a more counter-attacking formation of 4-3-3 against England as he looks to catch England on the break. The addition of Poulsen will add a bit more steel to the midfield as well and they will look to maintain their defensive shape in this game.
Expected starting line-up (4-3-3): Anderson (GK); Jacobsen, Bjelland, Agger, Kristensen; Poulsen, Kvist, Zimling; Kahlenberg, Bendtner, Krohn-Dehli
Players to watch-out for: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (England); Michael Krohn-Dehli (Denmark)
Prediction: England 2-0 Denmark