The Denmark national football team is regarded as one of the teams that are the dark horses to win this summer’s European Championships and the group they have been drafted into doesn’t make their task any easier.
The Danes are in Group B along with Belgium, Russia and first-timers Finland and opened their campaign with a loss in their match with Finland in Copenhagen.
FootTheBall takes a look at the Danes’ chances at this summer’s footballing extravaganza as they bid to repeat the heroics of the class of 1992 when they won the title after being invited at the last minute to pad out the entire schedule of the tournament.
Denmark have a host of players who can, on any given day, take a match by the scruff of its neck and produce an excellent display to guide their team home to success.
Led by none other than Christian Eriksen (Inter Milan’s dynamic midfielder) and captained by AC Milan’s Simon Kjaer, the Danes can set their eyes on competing for the second and third places in their group.
Martin Braithwaite and Yussuf Poulsen feature in attack for the Danish Dynamites, meanwhile the likes of Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg and Thomas Delaney will be lining up for the White and Reds in midfield.
This starting line-up is completed by Simon Kjaer and Daniel Wass playing at centre-back and right-back respectively, in front of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in goal. But there is a drawback to this ‘golden generation’ of Danish players – they lack in terms of squad depth.
Therefore, their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage are very low considering that the sum of the parts of the Denmark national football team is greater than the whole – meaning that they are a formidable side when one looks at their starting line-up on paper.
But the chemistry and understanding between them still needs work before they really form a cohesive and cooperating unit.
Denmark’s present manager was supposed to take over after the conclusion of the Euro 2020 tournament, but the pandemic induced delay led Kasper Hjulmand to take charge at the helm for the White and Reds at the quadrennial tournament.
Hjupmand was only 20 years old when Denmark won their first and only European Championship in 1992. Almost three decades later, he will be leading from the technical area as Denmark bid to emulate the crop of players who won in 1992.
The Danes were expected to earn all three points as they took on Finland in their opening match, but disappointingly they slumped to a defeat in a match that was marred by the unexpected collapse of Christian Eriksen on the ground, who was then taken to a hospital where his condition has since stabilised. The Finns are making their debut in the European Championships and are minnows in Group B.
The next two matches are the ones where the Danes will have to showcase both talent and skill while at the same time hope for luck to be on their side. They face Belgium on 17th June before hosting Russia at the Parken Stadium on 21st June.
A win against either Belgium or Russia will brighten their chances of securing second place in Group B and qualifying for the knockout stage
Towards the business end of the tournament, the Danes will be potentially facing the runners-up of Group A if they finish in second place in Group B which at the time of writing this article are Wales.
But if the White and Reds finish in third place then they could be facing the winners of either Group E and Group F which will be decidedly tougher for Hjulmand’s team.
Group E and F contain teams like Spain, Portugal, France and Germany, therefore the Danes will be counting on securing second place in Group B to ensure a relatively easier draw in the knockout stage.