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Danes the winners in FIFA numbers game

By Reuters Staff
October 23, 2011

By Phil O’Connor

The calculation of the FIFA rankings may be a mystery to many soccer fans, but the football associations are well aware of the value of a high ranking.

Having recently beaten Cyprus and Portugal to win their group and qualify for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine, Denmark rose to joint 10th with Argentina.

Jim Stjerne Hansen, general secretary of the Danish Football Association (DBU), told the Reuters Sports Blog that it brings advantages, both on and off the field.

Having risen from 17th to 10th, the Danish FA are looking forward to attracting a better class of opposition for friendlies. “People tend to have an eye on that when it comes to friendlies, the best teams will always look to play teams in at least the top 20,” he said.

“The commercial deals you can make are also better when you manifest yourself in that group.’

The value of the success of the national team will not be lost on head coach Morten Olsen, who is set to negotiate with Hansen for an extension to his contract. Next year Olsen will celebrate 12 years at the helm of the Danish national team, and the general secretary is one of his biggest fans.

“Much of our success is down to Morten. He has a lot to say about the way we play, from under-17, under-19 and under-21, all the way through to the A team. We are working with his philosophy.

“The last three matches went very well, we are playing very well and that is the most important thing.”

Olsen is one of the longest-serving national team coaches in the world, and neither Danish fans nor media see any reason for him to stop now.

But despite the better commercial options that go along with their new position in world football, Hansen is not giving too much away.

Asked whether or not he and his head coach were talking about a new deal, Hansen answered: “I talk to Morten every day. What we talk about? I’m not going to say.”

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