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  • EXCLUSIVE by Alessandro Schiavone

Fulham and Crystal should look at Olesen who shone for Luxembourg against Bosnia & Herzeogwina

By Alessandro Schiavone at Stade Du Luxembourg

Luxembourg 4-1 Bosnia

Mathias Olesen opened his international duck in Luxembourg’s 4-1 drubbing of Bosnia Herzegovina yesterday night to help restore the minnows’ pride after back-to-back defeats against Portugal and Slovakia last month. It was a night, performance and result for the ages. The Copenhagen-born Luxembourg international’s flicked header on six minutes was the all-important goal that unlocked a pretty much one-sided encounter with Bosnia chasing shadows. Remarkably, the Cologne midfielder’s dominant display saw him upstage his counterpart and AC Milan man Rade Krunic who was not at the races and didn’t cover himself in glory yesterday night, just like the rest of his teammates. It’s clear that the simultaneous triple absence of Miralem Pjanic, Edin Dzeko and Sead Kolasinac threw the visitors off course but given his pedigree and international experience the 30-year-old Rossonero should have led by example. Something Olesen did. Other than his perfectly-timed header, he was everywhere. He shone in both defensive and attacking transition, was decent on the ball and put his body on the line if needed be. Krunic on the other hand had lapses in concentration, gave the ball away cheaply, created next to nothing and generally failed to track his runners. But credit to Copenhagen-born Olesen, who also qualified for Denmark through his parents before opting for Luxembourg, as he scored the kind of header his iconic countrymen Jon Dahl Tomasson, Allan Simonsen and Preben Elkjaer would be proud of. Timing, athleticism and clinical edge. Be it Fulham or Crystal Palace, several Premier League sides could do with a player like him. Yesterday he was the envy of Bosnia & Herzegovina head coach and former Aston Villa poacher Savo Milosevic. And if Luxembourg sealed third place in the group behind Portugal and Slovakia and can now look forward to the play-offs in March and a potential participation at Euro 2024 they owe a huge debt of gratitude to the man plying his trade in the German Bundesliga.


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