No Danish delight for Socceroos

The Socceroos unbeaten run in London has come to end, after going down to a very classy Denmark side 3-1 this morn. The Danes scored three first half goals, with Australia’s captain for the game Brett Emerton, scoring a late consolation goal.

The Socceroos unbeaten run in London has come to end, after going down to a very classy Denmark side 3-1 this morning. The Danes scored three first half goals, with Australia-s captain for the game Brett Emerton, scoring a late consolation goal.

While the scoreline says Australia was well beaten, the match was much closer than that suggests and the entertaining match could well have featured many more goals, with Australia having two disallowed and one off the crossbar.

Denmark, who are preparing for a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against Spain next month, went into the match almost at full strength, while Australian coach Graham Arnold was forced to make eight changes to his initial squad, including the late withdrawal of Mark Viduka.

The match got off to the worst possible start for Australia, when Mile Sterjovski lost control of the ball 30 metres out, with Kahlenberg quickly flicking the ball to Tomasson. In one motion, Tomasson turned the ball onto his right foot and without looking up at the goal, blasted his shot into the top corner, with Michael Petkovic rooted to his spot and no chance of saving.

Australia-s response was almost instant though, with John Aloisi wriggling free of his marker, with a clear shot on goal, but off-balance he completely missed his shot.

A minute later, Sterjovski, who was impressive going forward down the right all night, got into the penalty box, with his cross beating Thomas Sorensen, but Liverpool-s Daniel Agger was on the spot to clear off the line, with Brett Holman waiting to tap home. From the ensuing corner, Aloisi powered a header goalwards, but Sorensen was equal to the task and pushed clear.

Tomasson saw another effort go across the face of goal shortly afterwards, with both sides showing their attacking intent.

Dennis Rommendaal was inches away from making it 2-0 in the 19th minute, when he met a superb cross from the left, but his shot just lobbed over the bar.

Not long after came a crucial moment in the match, when Michael Thwaite thought he had scored an equaliser, only to have it ruled away because of an apparent foul by Aloisi, although it was Aloisi who looked like he had been pushed in the back.

Then came the classic sucker-punch, as Denmark went two up in the 28th minute. Wonderful passing and movement by the Danes had Australia-s defence at sixes and sevens and Rommendaal-s cross found Daniel Jensen, who powered his header past Petkovic.

Kahlenberg nearly made it 3-0 with his free kick just going wide of the near post, but Tomasson did score in the 38th minute, when he met Rommedaal-s cross from the left and tucked home easily from 8 yards. That was effectively game, set and match.

Again Australia responded strongly with another goal from Aloisi ruled out for offside (correctly); Tim Cahill having an effort saved by Sorensen; and Aloisi-s half chance from close range cleared off the line all before the half time break.

The second half saw Australia come out strongly and keen to make up for the disappointing first half and should have pulled a goal back after just three minutes.

Aloisi was just a second too late to meet a Holman through ball, which Sorensen cleared only as far as Sterjovski, who in turn hit a 40-yard volley that Sorensen just managed to thump away. The ball was kept in by Australia and when Aloisi clipped a ball over the top of the defence to Sterjovski, a goal looked certain, but the FC Basel midfielder-s side-foot volley smacked against the crossbar. It was not going to be Australia-s night.

The Danes always looked dangerous on the break and nearly caught Australia out in the 64th minute, with Petkovic denying Kahlenberg, while Rasmus Wuertz beat Petkovic, but saw his shot hit the outside of the post.

With substitutions coming thick and fast from both sides now, it was one of Australia-s that provided some spark, Ryan Griffiths almost winning a penalty when he was blatantly body-checked as he raced into the box.

However, from the 85th minute free kick, captain Brett Emerton brilliantly curled his shot over the wall and into the top corner, to give Australia a deserved consolation goal.

Match Details

Australia 1 (Brett Emerton 85-) Denmark 3 (Jon Dahl Tomasson 5-/38-, Daniel Jensen 28-)

Australian line-up: Michael Petkovic (gk); Brett Emerton (c), Patrick Kisnorbo, Michael Thwaite, Scott Chipperfield, Vince Grella, Josip Skoko (Jacob Burns 67-), Tim Cahill (Ryan Griffiths 75-), Mile Sterjovski, Brett Holman, John Aloisi

Subs not used: Brad Jones (gk); Shane Stefanutto, Jon McKain, Scott McDonald, Neil Kilkenny

Cautions: Nil

Referee: Rob Styles (England)