World Cup Preview – Denmark
Best WC Performance: Quarter Finals – 1998
Current World Ranking – 12
Denmark did not enter the international scene at the World Cup until 1986. Despite winning the 1992 European Championships (ironically after not qualifying the first time), the Danes did not return until 1998, where they had their best performance upon reaching the quarter finals. After not qualifying for the last World Cup, Denmark will be hoping to prove that they are on the rise.
Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Frederik Ronnow (Brondby), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield).
Defenders: Simon Kjaer (Sevilla), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Jonas Knudsen (Ipswich).
Midfielders: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Deportivo La Coruna), Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen), William Kvist (FC Copenhagen), Lukas Lerager (Bordeaux).
Forwards: Andreas Cornelius (Atalanta), Kasper Dolberg (Ajax), Martin Braithwaite (Middlesbrough), Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord), Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo), Viktor Fischer (FC Copenhagen), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig).
- Vs Peru 17:00, 16/06/18 Mordovia Arena, Saransk
- Vs Australia 13:00, 21/06/18 Samara Arena, Samara
- Vs France 15:00, 26/06/18 Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Manager – Age Hareide
Åge Hareide may not be a household name in the UK, but after conquering the Scandinavian leagues (winning the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish top flights) he is a fans favourite amongst the Danes. Seeing them return to the World Cup boosted his appeal and he will be hoping to escape the group stages, maybe even extending Denmark’s time in Russia by going beyond the round of 16.
After being placed in a relatively weak group, Denmark would have been very upset to not qualify. They did however need to go to a second round to ensure their plane tickets to Russia. After finishing second in the group to Poland, the Danes were to face the Republic of Ireland and, after a tricky goalless draw, Denmark emphatically won 5-1 in Dublin to secure their place at the World Cup finals.
Captain – Simon Kjær
Simon Kjær has been a rock at the back for many a team throughout the years including Lille, Wolfsburg and Fenerbahçe. Currently at Spanish side Sevilla, Simon will be looking to lead his side to victory, providing strong support from the back.
Danger man – Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen is a phenomenal player and will be the first name on the list when Hareide decides his team for the opening fixture. He is one of the best midfielders on the planet and consistently proves this too. He is the top scoring Danish player in Premier League history and his creative link up play with the Spurs attackers is majestic to watch. He also scored a hat-trick in Denmark’s final qualifying game, essentially firing them to Russia.
Young player – Andreas Christensen
Andreas Christensen is quickly becoming a well-established centre back, and he’s only 22. He was signed by Chelsea but as many of their players do, he found himself on loan. It was at Borussia Mönchengladbach that he proved his worth, becoming a regular in the first team and even becoming Mönchengladbach’s player of the year in his debut season. Upon returning to London, he established himself in the first team and will be gunning for a place in Russia. He also scored Denmark’s crucial equaliser against the Republic of Ireland in the play-offs.
Premier League Players
Christian Eriksen of Spurs is not only a key player for the Denmark squad but is also vitally important at club level. Another notable Danish player is Leicester city shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel. Jonas Lössl (GK) also kept Huddersfield Town in many a game with centre back Mathias Jørgensen who both made big contributions to their survival in the Premier League. Other Danish players are Pierre-Emile Højbjerg of Southampton and youngster Andreas Christensen of Chelsea.
Barring France, Denmark shouldn’t be too displeased with their group and realistically should at least finish runners up. With stars such as Eriksen and a reliable keeper in Schmeichel, the Danes will be tough to beat. However, if they do progress their opponents from Group D (whoever they may be facing in the next round, most likely Argentina) will prove to be tricky to overcome which could see Denmark leaving at the round of 16.
Written by Sam Brazier.