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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Bendtner a doubt for Japan clash

Soccernet staff

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner is an injury doubt for his side's crucial Group E clash with Japan on Thursday, though coach Morten Olsen remains "incredibly optimistic" that his side can advance to the second round.

• Preview: Battle for second place
• Denmark Blog: Hope ahead
• Japan Blog: Game of our lives

Bendtner scored in Denmark's 2-1 victory over Cameroon, a result that means the Danes and Japan are essentially in a straight shootout to see who will join Netherlands in progressing from the group.

But they may have to do it without the Arsenal forward, with Olsen claiming that Bendtner is suffering from a long-term groin problem.

"There are always players who have small problems," Olsen said. "Bendtner is still doubtful for the Japan game, and will continue to be regardless of how far we go in the tournament.

"First of all we have to see if he can play and we will decide that tomorrow. He has been doing quite allright. It's by necessity that every other day he does not participate in the practise.

"Every time he has played we wait to see the reaction from his injury. There's always a doubt when we have injuries like that, so we will have to wait and see.''

And Olsen insists that even if Japan continue to play a defensive brand of football, he is confident his side have what it takes to beat the Blue Samurai.

"It's a decisive game and hopefully the first final for us," he said. "We know what to do, though it is difficult to score goals nowadays when you play defensive teams."

"We've shown indications of playing well, and our defence has worked really well," the Denmark coach said. "There are some players who haven't found their form yet, but I have great faith that they can find it."

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