Sports notes | Goal avalanche starts 2014

New Year’s Day belonged to the Danes in the English Premier League as Liverpool’s Daniel Agger, Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen and Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner all found the net with crucial goals in their sides’ wins, although  Bendtner did manage to injure himself in the process. And then four days later, Aston Villa forward Nicklas Hellenius scored his first goal for his club in the FA Cup.

Pressure on hosts

Following wins over France and Croatia last week, the hosts and defending champions Denmark will head into the 16-team European Men’s Handball Championship confident they can capitalise on home advantage. Beginning on Sunday, they will face Austria, Macedonia and the Czech Republic in the group stage. The final is on January 26 and the venues are in Aarhus, Aalborg, Herning and Brøndby.

Not now, Simon says

Despite interest in Brøndby’s two-metre tall striker Simon Makienok, 23, from at least two English Premier League sides, his agent Michael Stensgaard has said a move during the ongoing transfer window is unlikely. “We are in no rush,” he told media. Fulham were reportedly lining up a £3.3m bid, while Crystal Palace came close to signing him last summer. Makienok has scored 26 goals in 48 games since his debut in 2012.

Surpass the Sammarinese!

Morten Olsen, 64, who is the longest serving national coach in Europe following the retirement of San Marino’s Giampaolo Mazza in October, signed a new two-year contract shortly before Christmas to continue until Euro 2016 in France. Fourteen years in charge, Olsen has presided over 147 games – 62 more than Mazza, who managed 15 years but just one solitary point in qualifying.

V for Viktor

Viktor Axelsen, 19, beat South Korea’s Lee Hyun Il in the men’s singles final in the Copenhagen Masters on December 28 to complete a Danish clean sweep that saw Matthias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, and Joachim Fischer-Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen, win the men’s and mixed doubles. Earlier in December, Pedersen and women’s doubles partner Kamilla Rytter Juhl beat the Chinese world number ones for the first time.

Number one man

The nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen was the runaway winner of BT Guld, a Danish sports personality of the year award organised by the tabloid, which is voted for by a panel of sports stars. Second was badminton player Tine Baun and third Rikke Møller Pedersen, one of three swimmers on the ten-strong shortlist. Cyclist Lasse Norman Hansen won the award for 2012.

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