FIFA World Ranking: 10
Previous Best: Winners 1992
Last 5 Euros (Latest first): DNQ-Groups-DNQ-QF-Groups
How Qualified: Runner Up Group D
Qualifying Record: P8 W4 D4 L0 F23 A6 GD17 Pts16
Tournament Odds: 28/1
Goalkeepers: Jonas Lössl (Midtjylland), Frederik Rønnow (Schalke), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)
Defenders: Joachim Andersen (Fulham), Nicolai Boilesen (Copenhagen), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Mathias Jørgensen (Copenhagen), Simon Kjær (AC Milan), Joakim Mæhle (Atalanta), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton)
Midfielders: Anders Christiansen (Malmö), Thomas Delaney (Dortmund), Christian Eriksen (Inter Milan), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham), Mathias Jensen (Brentford), Christian Nørgaard (Brentford), Robert Skov (Hoffenheim), Daniel Wass (Valencia)
Forwards: Martin Braithwaite (Barcelona), Andreas Cornelius (Parma), Mikkel Damsgaard (Sampdoria), Kasper Dolberg (Nice), Andreas Skov Olsen (Bologna), Yussuf Poulsen (Leipzig), Jonas Wind (Copenhagen)
June 12 vs Finland (5pm – Copenhagen)
June 17 vs Belgium (5pm – Copenhagen)
June 21 vs Russia (8pm – Copenhagen)
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Denmark shocked the world when they won the tournament back at Euro 92. The first thing to remember from that effort was that they only made it into the competition when Yugoslavia were banned because of the fallout in that country. Denmark took full advantage with the likes of Peter Schmeichel, John Jensen et al capitalising in full to get the job done in Sweden. Since then though the Danes have only been to the quarter finals once which was in 2004 where the Czech Republic were too good for them. This squad will be hoping to write their own piece of history this year.
Denmark were involved in one of the more competitive qualifying groups and they came second in it with Switzerland the side to finish above them. The Danes were extremely hard to beat in that group and went unbeaten through it, however a pair of draws against the Republic of Ireland allowed Switzerland to get away from them and they were unable to claw them back in. Nevertheless they qualified safely enough. Christian Eriksen was their leading scorer in qualifying with five strikes.
I think it is fair to say that the pandemic has done Denmark a bit of a touch as it has allowed the more attack minded and progressive Kasper Hjulmand the chance to take over from Age Hareide and the change in style has been remarkable. The dour Danes have become a thing of the past and they have turned into an exciting, free scoring and good to watch side. Star man Christian Eriksen goes into the tournament off the back of a title win in Serie A while the likes of Joachim Andersen, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Christensen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have all had good Premier League campaigns. Denmark are much better for the 12 month delay for sure.
For all that they look much better going forward, there are plenty of teams in the competition who would relish the defensive options that are option to Hjulmand. Along with the three Premier League centre-backs I mentioned above, they also have Simon Kjaer who has been excellent for AC Milan this season, while behind those Kasper Schmeichel remains one of the best goalkeepers in world football, who as we saw in the FA Cup final can deliver on the big stage. Denmark also have home advantage throughout the group stage and the last 16 is likely to be in Amsterdam so travelling is minimal.
The one thing Denmark lack is a true out and out lethal goalscorer which does leave them a little too reliant on Christian Eriksen. He is good enough to deliver the goods and has plenty of freedom under the new manager but you do fear a little for the Danes should Eriksen get injured even though the likes of Yussuf Poulsen and Martin Brathwaite operate in the top leagues in Europe at club level. If either of them can hit the ground running it will help.
Kasper Hjulmand has been in charge since July last year. He was due to take over after this tournament but when it was cancelled the Danish FA moved quickly to install him and the change has had the positive effect. He has coached Lyngby to the second tier title in 2007 and then took Nordsjaelland to the Superliga title in 2012. His teams play an attractive brand of football, one which doesn’t shirk their defensive organisation but which allows players to get into the box and get among the goals. In three World Cup qualifiers under him they scored 14 goals but as we saw against England in the Nations League, they can be organised too. His record reads: P11 W8 D1 L2.
There is no getting away from the fact that Christian Eriksen remains hugely important for this Denmark side but when he fancies the job he can be one of the best players in Europe. Hjulmand has built a good relationship with him so far and that must remain intact for Denmark to have any chance in this competition. Another key man for the Danes will be their stopper Kasper Schmeichel, a calming influence between the sticks who will be looking to emulate his father and lift this trophy at Wembley in July.
I’ve already backed Christian Eriksen to be the leading scorer in the tournament so it makes sense to have a play on him to be the Denmark top scorer as well, especially as he is a 4/1 shot. He will be on all the set-pieces which is massively important and we saw at Wembley in the Nations League that he has a goal in him from long range as well. Eriksen arrives here off the back of a decent enough club season and might feel he has a point to prove to fans in England.
I don’t expect many Denmark goals in this tournament and there will be even fewer that Eriksen is not involved in. Eriksen top scored in qualifying for this competition and in the Nations League as well and nobody was really close to him in either event. Andreas Skov Olsen has started his international career promisingly but he isn’t likely to be a starter here and there is no guarantee another danger in Robert Skov starts either so Eriksen looks the logical choice.
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