Denmark coach resumes command after illness

Jun 10, 2010 - 7:34 PM By KARL RITTER Associated Press Writer

JOHANNESBURG(AP) -- Denmark coach Morten Olsen is back on his feet after being out sick for two days with a virus.

Olsen led the team's practice Thursday in Knysna, but canceled a news conference because he still hasn't fully recovered from his illness, team spokesman Lars Berendt said.

The 60-year-old Olsen stayed in bed since skipping practice Tuesday, and temporarily left assistant coach Peter Bonde in charge of the team.

Denmark faces the Netherlands in the opening match of Group E, which also includes Cameroon and Japan.

It remains unclear whether 22-year-old striker Nicklas Bendtner will play against the Dutch. The Arsenal forward, who scored three goals for Denmark in qualifying for the World Cup, is recovering from a groin injury and trained separately Thursday.

"We want to have him fit, we want him to do well, so of course he is a crucial player to us," midfielder Jesper Gronkjaer said. He called Bendtner Denmark's "No. 1 striker."

Defender Simon Kjaer, who hurt his right knee in a friendly last month against Senegal, also trained separately. Both Kjaer and Bendtner are following a special fitness program, the Danish federation said.

The Danes go into Monday's match as underdogs and will have to rely on their disciplined defense to stop the Dutch "attacking forces," Ajax winger Dennis Rommedahl said.

"I rate them very high," he said. "They are probably one of the best teams in Europe in this moment. ... So we have to watch out for people in front and put down a good plan to stop them."

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