The former Danish star with a foot in the Socceroos camp

There’s one Dane who won’t be convulsing in pain should Australia upset Christian Eriksen and company at the FIFA World Cup.

Beck

Mikkel Beck in action for Lille Source: Getty Images

Former Danish international striker Mikkel Beck - who scored three goals in 19 appearances for his country - has a foot in both camps ahead of the Group C clash in Russia on June 21.

Now a highly regarded player agent based in Monaco, Beck, 45, has Socceroos goalkeepers Mat Ryan and Danny Vukovic on his books, as well as Danish skipper Simon Kjaer.

And while his heart belongs to The Red-White, his Australian connections run deep with former Middlesbrough teammate Mark Schwarzer Beck’s closest friend from his playing days, and another former Socceroo, Mile Sterjovski also a long-time pal from their time together at Lille.

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Beck admits he’s in an “unusual position” as the meeting looms between two sides hoping to capture the runners up spot in Group C behind hotly favoured France.

“I’m trying to stay as neutral as possible, but of course I’m Danish and I can’t run away from that,” Beck said.

“It’s going to be a strange game for me to watch because I want all my clients to do well - and also my country to be successful.

“If you push me I have to say I want Denmark to win but if Australia get the result I can’t say it would be a bad thing either. I just want the better team to win on the day.



“I was born in Denmark but I’ve probably spent more years in France, both during and after my playing career, and I have such strong ties with Australia as well. So I am in an usual position.

“Mark Schwarzer and Mile Sterjovski and I go way back also and my connection to Maty Ryan is a huge one.

“I’ve been there from the start with him in Europe and have enjoyed watching him develop into a top goalkeeper who can play in any league.

“Of course, he’s also number one for his country.

“It’s been great to see how he’s progressed since arriving at Club Brugge and going on to Valencia and Genk, and now the Premier League with Brighton. It’s a great success story for him.”

Though convinced that the quality of France will see them safely through to the round of 16, Beck believes the battle for second spot in Group C, which also includes a rejuvenated Peru riding a 15-game unbeaten streak, is too close to call.

“I feel the match-up between Australia and Denmark is a particularly close one, and picking a favourite is very difficult.

“Initially you might say Denmark because of their experience in big tournaments and the fact they’ve gone 14 games unbeaten.



“But then you look at Australia who are the Asian champions and have a coach who took Holland to the final in 2010.

“Denmark are very well drilled and organized, tactically they’re very disciplined and in Christian Eriksen they have that individual brilliance which can decide matches.

“Australia don’t have that but they have a team that has played together for a while now and they never know when they’re beaten.

“It’s such a tough game when you play Australia - and they also have some really good individuals like Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic.

“Maty of course is an incredible keeper who I’m sure will step up for his country again.”

While Beck believes Australia will push Denmark close to breaking point, he’s also convinced they will give it a good crack against Les Bleus in their tournament opener in Kazan on Saturday (AEST).

“I see no reason why not,” he added. “Traditionally France are slow starters and Australia might take advantage of that. I think a lot of people might be surprised.”




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4 min read
Published 10 June 2018 at 8:20am
By Dave Lewis