Soccer-Denmark goal drought is no joke for Hjulmand

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Denmark Training - Al Sailiya SC 2, Al Rayyan, Qatar - November 29, 2022 Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand during training REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (Reuters) - So desperate is Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand to see his team break out of a World Cup scoring drought that he joked he might have to ask to borrow Norwegian striker Erling Haaland.

While that produced a good laugh Denmark's scoring issues are no joke as they prepare for a Group D showdown with Australia on Wednesday needing nothing less than a win over the Socceroos to keep alive any hope of advancing to the last 16.

The high-powered Danish attack which produced 30 goals in 10 World Cup qualifiers has sputtered in Qatar, finding the back of the net just once and that score coming courtesy of defender Andreas Christensen in a 2-1 loss to France.

With just two goals from two games the Australians are not lighting up the scoreboard either but thanks to a 1-0 win over Tunisia sit second in the group on three points and in pole position to follow leaders France into the next round.

Declaring his squad fully fit and ready for duty on Tuesday, Hjulmand has plenty of options up front but was unwilling to share them.

"The way it looks now everyone is ready," said Hjulmand. "We have 26 players they all deserve to play. They are all good enough and deserve to play.

"All we have to look at is what kind of technical approach should we take tomorrow, what structure should we play with, who do we know fits together.

"I trust all the players we have brought so there is many ways to do it."

The Denmark coach has left no stone unturned trying to find the combination to bring goals.

After a toothless attacking performance in the goalless draw with Tunisia, Hjulmand shook up his forward line for France.

He brought in Andreas Cornelius for Kasper Dolberg and Jesper Lindstrom for Andreas Skov Olsen, but the changes had little impact as the Danes failed to register a shot on target in the first half.

Searching for a spark up front, Hjulmand again decided to shake things up bringing on Martin Braithwaite for Cornelius to start the second half and later substituting winger Mikkel Damsgaard for Sevilla striker Kasper Dolberg.

Despite the changes, the only goal for the Danes came from Christensen.

Although tactics may change, Hjulmand assured his team's identity will not.

"Structures are always different from game-to-game, it is not always the same structure," said Hjulmand. "But the identity the philosophy is always the same the way we play should be the same every time.

"It's about winning and we try our best to do that and play our socks off."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Al Rayyan, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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