Denmark can flourish if Bendtner lives up to his own hype
Arsenal’s Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner is notoriously confident in his own abilities.
And if his self-assurance spreads among his team-mates, Denmark could go further than many expect of a team who are 100/1 to win the World Cup.
Bendtner is 2/1 to be his country’s top scorer in South Africa, and while his confidence may be a result of youthful exuberance, the rest of the Denmark squad is packed with experience.
John Dahl Tomasson has amassed an impressive 51 goals from his 110 caps, and as he requires only one goal to equal the Danish international record, the captain is a good contender to be their top scorer at 3/1.
Seasoned wingers Jesper Grønkjaer and Dennis Rommedahl will be familiar to Chelsea and Charlton fans, while Christian Poulsen of Juventus will dictate proceedings from central midfield.
And Liverpool’s Daniel Agger is expected to partner the 21-year-old Simon Kjaer at the heart of the defence.
Kjaer, who plays for Palermo, is building a reputation as one of Europe’s most promising central defenders, and if he can stay fit, he will be an asset to the Danes.
Denmark did well to qualify for this World Cup from a group including Sweden and Portugal, but their form has been mixed recently, with only two wins from their last five fixtures.
Drawn with Holland, Cameroon and Japan, Denmark are 9/2 to win Group E, and they are targeting at least second place.
Should this materialise, they are likely to face Italy in the round of 16, and the Danes will be more confident than most of upsetting the World Cup holders.
Italy complained of a Scandinavian conspiracy when they were knocked out at the group stage of Euro 2004 behind Denmark and Sweden, who had drawn 2-2 in the final group game to eliminate the Italians on goal difference.
With or without conspiracies, Denmark could cause a stir in South Africa, and they are a tempting 7/2 to reach the quarter-finals.