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The Globe and Mail

Young Canadians no match for Denmark in men’s soccer friendly

Canada's Russell Telbert (11) battles Denmark's Henrik Dalsgaard (20) during the second half of a friendly soccer match on Jan. 26, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz.

John Miller/The Associated Press

Teenage striker Andreas Cornelius scored three goals as Denmark took advantage of sloppy defending to easily defeat a young, outmatched Canadian side 4-0 in a soccer friendly Saturday afternoon.

The game was the first for the Canadian men since they crashed out of World Cup qualifying via a humiliating 8-1 loss last October in Honduras.

Kasper Lorentzen also scored for the Danes, who were missing many of their top players and yet still enjoyed a stroll in the park.

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Down 2-0 after 11 minutes, things looked ripe for another spanking against a poised Danish side that exploited a leaky Canadian defence. It was 3-0 at the half and could have been worse had it not been for the acrobatics of goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld, who was perhaps mercifully subbed after 45 minutes.

Hirschfeld has now given up 11 goals in his last 135 minutes playing for the national team.

For Colin Miller, it was his fourth straight loss as interim Canada coach — all against quality sides. In 2003, when he bridged the gap between Holger Osieck and Frank Yallop, he lost to the Czech Republic, Finland and Ireland.

Denmark is ranked 23rd in the world, while Canada is 64th.

But those numbers didn't mean much on the day. Both teams fielded young sides, given the game did not fall on a FIFA international date. Canada's starting 11 featured just three players — Hirschfeld, midfielder Nik Ledgerwood and striker Tosaint Ricketts — who started in Honduras.

Miller gave six players their first caps at the senior level.

The matchup was a massive ask for a raw Canadian squad that had only 193 caps in total, with striker Dwayne De Rosario (71) and Hirschfeld (45) accounting for more than 60 per cent of those.

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The Canadians have had little time together and it showed. And the Danes were motivated, with many looking to impress manager Morton Olsen and play their way onto the World Cup qualifying team.

Olsen subbed three players at the half, including veteran Dennis Rommedahl, who had his way down the flank in the early going.

Simon Thomas came in for Hirschfeld in the Canadian goal to start the second half and earn his debut cap. He was almost beaten from the get-go, but Cornelius, taking advantage of a Canadian error, chipped the ball just over.

The game was played before a sparse crowd of 3,402 at the 11,500-seat Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, a baseball park that is home to the Pacific Coast League's Tucson Padres. It made for a quiet afternoon, with almost no crowd noise.

The field did not draw rave reviews, and one corner was like a bog after a morning torrential downpour. There was a tarp covering the field, but the water apparently leaked as it was rolled up.

Canada heads to Houston next for a game Tuesday against the U.S. Denmark travels to Phoenix to meet Mexico on Wednesday.

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