Denmark can surprise at World Cup: Euro 1992 winner Olsen
Denmark's Euro 1992-winning captain believes current crop have same spirit as his historic side
The inevitable comparison with the cult Danish Dynamite team of the 1980s has become part and parcel of Denmark's footballing heritage.
Even the nation's most successful generation, the Euro 1992 champions, have found themselves measured against the majesty of their predecessors.
"I wouldn't say there was pressure, but all Danes wanted to compare the two teams because the '86 team from Mexico was the first that had success," Lars Olsen, Denmark's Euro 1992-winning captain told The New Paper in an exclusive interview.
The Danish Dynamite team might not have matched his side in terms of silverware, but in terms of style, they have lived long in the memory. They were blessed with world-class players such as Preben Elkjaer, Soren Lerby, Michael Laudrup, Frank Arnesen and Morten Olsen, and guided by visionary coach Sepp Piontek.
In 2007, The Daily Telegraph and World Soccer magazine ranked the Danish team that played at World Cup 1986 as the 16th-greatest team of all time.
And that side made it only to the Round of 16.
But they did so with great panache - winning all their group games, crushing Uruguay 6-1 and beating eventual finalists West Germany 2-0 - before living up to their Dynamite nickname and imploding in a 5-1 loss to Spain in the last 16.
As Denmark's current crop prepares for the World Cup with a friendly against Chile tomorrow morning (Singapore time), memories of their country's past successes still linger.
External influence is again at the heart of the current revival, as it was in 1986 when German coach Piontek was in charge.
In his first qualifying campaign, Norwegian Age Hareide guided them to the Finals in Russia with an approach that remains more remedial than revolutionary.
Going back to basics under the former Norway coach proved the catalyst to salvaging a World Cup campaign which threatened to appear listless before last September's 4-0 annihilation of Poland.
Christian Eriksen, whose hat-trick in the play-off with the Republic of Ireland secured Denmark's place in Russia, has been the greatest exponent of an approach that is a firm departure from the time-honoured philosophy honed by Morten Olsen over a 15-year period.
Under Hareide, the Tottenham Hotspur playmaker has scored 15 times in the last 18 games for his country, a stark contrast from the meagre six he amassed in 57 outings under his predecessor.
"Everybody speaks in Denmark about Eriksen because he's had a lot of success in Tottenham, but we have, at the moment, success with a lot of players," insisted Olsen.
"I know that for Andreas Christensen, it is going a little bit up and down, but he's playing at Chelsea, like Kasper Schmeichel in Leicester - so we have a lot of players who perform very well at the moment.
"And that's very important for the national team."
Simon Kjaer, Olsen's modern successor both in Denmark's defence and as captain, is also enjoying an impressive vein of form, having already helped Sevilla send Manchester United crashing out of the Champions League's last 16 earlier this month.
As coach of the Faroe Islands, Olsen currently finds himself 85 places beneath Denmark in Fifa's world rankings, but his place in footballing history is firmly cemented as the man who took his homeland to an unlikely title at Euro 1992.
Amid a plethora of household names and firm favourites, the 57-year-old believes the spirit of 1992 stands Hareide's side in good stead to potentially spring another surprise this summer.
The Danes are in Group C with France, Australia and Peru.
"When the tournament in Russia starts, all teams are starting from zero," said Olsen.
"You saw it in '92, also with Greece in 2004, that sometimes smaller teams are going all the way.
"I also think that Denmark, with the confidence they have at the moment, can be a surprise for one of the bigger teams in Russia."