Eight matches, eight victories – Denmark is a class of
their own during this World Championship. Even the injury of Thomas Mogensen,
who had to be replaced from the Preliminary Round on, did not stop the team of
coach Ulrik Wilbek. Teams like Croatia, Sweden or Poland were beaten in an
The Danish team is young, but successful. “We play as
a team, this is the key of success,” said Wilbek. His squad play a very modern
fast handball founded on a strong defense with outstanding wing players for
counter attacks and “Mr. hammer” Mikkel Hansen for goals from ten or more meters.
Hansen currently is number two in the top scorer list with 49 goals, but number
one in the ranking “goals and assists” with 77. Hansen is not only a shooter, but
also a team player and a defense specialist. Together with Kasper Nielsen and
Rene Toft Hansen fixes the Danish defense – and if they couldn’t block the
ball, young goalkeeper Niklas Landin – one of the new heroes – saves the shots.
The 22 years old keeper, who became Youth World Champion, is the successor of
legend Kasper Hvidt and fills his footprint now.
In the attack Denmark can count on a fast wing quartet
with Lars Christiansen and Anders Eggert on the left side and Lasse Svan Hansen
and brilliant Hans “Majestaet” Lindbergh on the right. Right back Kasper Söndergaard
plays the best tournament of his career. And pivot Jesper Noddesbö has a high
shot efficiency. “We will have to play faster than Spain, as they are physical
stronger,” Wilbek said before the semi-final.
One of the biggest advantages for the Danes is the
support from the stands: Between 5000 and 10.000 spectators had attended the
matches in Malmö, more than 3000 Danes have tickets for the semi in
Kristianstad – and will cheer for their team. “We have home matches in another
country. Never before such a huge crowd has supported us. Great!, “said Wilbek.
And maybe he can add another medal to his individual medal cabinet: First he
led the Danish women to European and Olympics Gold then the Danish men became
European Champion in 2008.