The 4-0 defeat to Armenia, which has left the squad with slim chances of getting a World Cup berth, has led to cries being raised for Olsen to step down.
A humiliating 4-0 home defeat to Armenia, which has now dimmed Denmark’s hopes of a World Cup berth, has triggered calls for a new Denmark coach on Wednesday.
Morten Olsen, who has been at the helm of the Denmark squad since 2000, said he took full responsibility for the washout, but sports commentators suggested the veteran had “reached the end of the line.” Tabloid BT on Wednesday headlined its first page “Resign, Olsen” while rival Ekstra Bladet’s carried a photo of the coach along with the headline “Finished”.
“Farewell Copacabana. Farewell to the World Cup. Farewell Morten Olsen,” Copenhagen daily Politiken summed up.
Politiken’s football columnist Soren Olsen said he doubted Denmark could catch up with Bulgaria or the Czech Republic for the second place — and a possible playoff spot — behind Italy in Group B.
“The result and the performance was a stain on Denmark’s national team,” he wrote. “What an enormous fiasco, this will really be painful for a long time — for Olsen and the players.”
“It was the worst evening in my life in football. It is incomprehensible that we couldn’t do better, but the responsibility is fully mine,” Olsen told broadcaster TV2 after the match.
His contract runs until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Denmark’s next World Cup qualifier is in September against Malta.
Speculation on a possible successor to Olsen included former Denmark international Michael Laudrup, although his fate is still linked to Swansea or another club. Others include FC Nordsjaelland coach Kasper Hjulmand or Swansea’s deputy coach Morten Wieghorst.
Ekstra Bladet commentator Jan Jensen said he hoped the Danish Football Association would opt for a Dutch or a German coach, citing that Denmark needed fresh impulses.
Daily Jyllands-Posten labelled the match as a “total and unprecedented collapse,” and the culmination of a down period that began a year and a half ago.
Sampdoria defender Simon Poulsen told news agency Ritzau the players were even “more disappointed” than the spectators or fans who watched the match on television.
Goalkeeper Stephan Andersen hoped the transfer to a new club, Betis, would help him get over the defeat.
Defender Simon Kjaer was one of the players who had a poor evening. He missed a pass that allowed Armenia’s Yura Movsisyan to score after 27 seconds. The shock opener was nine seconds faster than when Italy’s Filippo Inzaghi scored against Denmark in 1999.
The defeat leaves the Danes fifth with six points in the six-team group, four points behind the second-placed Bulgarians and three behind the Czech Republic. Armenia, who also have six points, are fourth on goal difference.
All the teams have four matches remaining.