Euro 2016 qualifying: Denmark’s Morten Olsen optimistic of progress

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Wise old head: Morten Olsen.

Denmark coach Morten Olsen is confident his side can overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit and qualify for Euro 2016 when they host Sweden at a sold-out Telia Parken on Tuesday.

Substitute Nicolai Jorensen’s 80th-minute goal kept Denmark’s hopes alive after Emil Forsberg and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had given Sweden a 2-0 lead in the opening leg in Solna on Saturday.

Olsen wants to end his 16-year reign in charge of the Danes in style by leading his country to another major tournament.

The 66-yearold, who has guided Denmark to the finals of two World Cups and two European Championships, will step down after Euro 2016.

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“We have to believe,” Olsen said. “I think we have the players who can decide the match. It will be a different game from that in Sweden.

“There is no doubt that the fantastic support I expect from our home crowd will be a tremendous help. It is up to us together with the crowd to make it happen.”

Sweden will be without centreback Mikael Antonsson, who sustained a groin problem on Saturday. He is likely to be replaced by Besiktas defender Alexander Milosevic.

Ibrahimovic will spearhead Sweden’s attack in the hope of leading his country to a Euro finals for a sixth time.

Fomenko left feeling vulnerable

Heat is on: Mikhail Fomenko.

Ukraine head into their play-off second-leg against Slovenia in Maribor with some trepidation despite holding a 2-0 advantage from the opening leg.

Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Seleznyov in Saturday’s match in Lviv put the Ukrainians in control of the tie.

But Ukraine, who made their Euro finals debut in 2012 as co-hosts of the tournament, have lost in five previous qualifying play-offs for major tournaments, their last against France two years ago.

“For us it would have been better to start the tie away from home but we cannot change anything as that was the draw,” Ukraine coach Mikhail Fomenko said.

“We have taken the first step and now we need to be calm. Our players know what they have to do.”

Slovenia, under former UAE coach Srecko Katanec, are attempting to reach their second Euro finals after 2000.

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Germany’s Joachim Low believes friendly game had to go ahead

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Sending a message: Joachim Low.

Germany coach Joachim Low admits he was in two minds about Tuesday’s friendly against Holland going ahead following Friday’s terror attacks on Paris.

It had been suggested the match in Hanover would be called off after Germany were caught up in the attacks, with explosions heard outside the Stade de France during their friendly against France.

The German team remained inside the venue until Saturday morning for security reasons and the game against Holland had been in doubt, but on Sunday the national federation (DFB) announced it would go ahead.

“It was a horrible, terrible night,” Low said. “Once we had landed back in Frankfurt, I had the feeling that the game could not take place.

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– SHARE, RATE, WIN with ValoraFutbol

“But having slept on it for a night, it became clear that the game had to go ahead. It’s going to be a clear message for freedom and democracy. It is about respect and support for our French friends.

“If we manage to turn this game into a signal, then we will already have won, regardless of the result.”

Low had been hoping to use Friday’s game in France and Tuesday’s fixture to experiment with his team in their final get-together of 2015, but he admits from a practical perspective it is now unlikely he will learn much from the clash.

Low said: “You can’t just go back to normal day-to-day life. We want to play a decent game, but the sporting value of this game drops into the background.”

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Watch Cristiano talk Messi, retirement and his son's mother

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Ronaldo on the show.

Real Madrid’s new all-time top-scorer’ Cristiano Ronaldo discussed retirement, playing abroad and his chances of winning the Balon d’Or, on the UK's Jonathan Ross Show this week.

Coinciding with the release of his new film, Ronaldo was in top form, even stating he is the world's best player and despite stating that he believes Lionel Messi will win world football's top gong.

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Of Messi, Ronaldo said “I have a good relationship with him… we respect each other.” 

The former Manchester United forward also stated that he has plenty of years left in his locker to keep on playing in the top flight of football – ‘six or seven more seasons’ in fact – rather than follow the trend of playing out the final years of his career in the Middle East or USA.

Recent years has seen iconic players join the Major League Soccer (MLS) ranks, with Didier Drogba, Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and former England internationals Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard all opting for the States.

While former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro, who led his country to World Cup glory, as well as former Barcelona midfield pass-master’ Xavi chose Qatar and Dubai, respectively.

Ronaldo on the other hand has no intention of following suit, claiming he wants to retire “with dignity”, rather than chase his final paychecks playing in “the United States, Qatar or Dubai”.

He did however remain guarded on certain subjects, and defended raising his son without a mother when probed by the British comedian and TV presenter. 

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