A game of two halves

Morten Olsen’s selection headaches continue in defeat to Slovakia in Denmark’s last test before the 2014 World Cup qualifiers

The sun was shining warmly, and the jovial Odense crowd had just witnessed a first half during which their football heroes had dominated Slovakia, scored a goal and looked set to further bedazzle in the second half. Sure, it was only a friendly against a team that didn't make the recent European Championship, but nobody there would have predicted what happened next.

Because Denmark capitulated. They decided to do an immaculate impression of an Estonian third division team. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.

Slovakia scored three goals, which should have been more, in the last half hour on their way to an all-to pedestrian 3-1 victory that will do little to boost Denmark’s confidence ahead of the important 2014 World Cup qualification opener against the Czechs in early September. As preparation games go, you don't get much better than playing Slovakia ahead  of the Czechs, and the Danes failed miserably.

It started well for Olsen’s boys, who were without retirees Thomas Sørensen and Christian Poulsen along with Simon Kjær, Thomas Kahlenberg and Simon Poulsen, who weren't selected because of their ongoing transfer chronicles.

Tobias Mikkelsen opened the scoring after 22 minutes when he blocked a Slovakian defensive clearance attempt, before driving a powerful strike past the keeper and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Heading into the second half, Olsen took off Christian Eriksen, Niki Zimling and Nicklas Bendtner, who looks poised to miss the Czech Republic game due to his infamous Euro 2012 underpants stunt, and the crowd was chomping at the bit for more goals.

But when the goal did come just after the hour, it was not a Danish sounding name that rang out through the stadium speakers. Instead it was Slovakian tank-of-a-forward Martin Jakubko who had outmuscled inexperienced Jores Okore and headed home from a simple set piece.

Ten minutes later a rejuvenated Slovakian team scored again after another mistake by the hapless Okore led to Marek Hamsik heading home, and then with ten minutes remaining, more abysmal defending allowed substitute Lubomir Guldan to poke a cross past Stephan Andersen, despite being surrounded by three Danish players.

The second half debacle must leave Olsen with a lot of unanswered questions, and with three weeks before the Czechs come to town, he has little time to address them.

The Czechs, however, will be pleased to see how easy it was for their Slovakian brethren to dismantle the inept Danish defence.