Qualification for Denmark was far from plain sailing as they initially struggled to implement the philosophies of new manager Age Hareide, losing 1-0 at home to Montenegro, but by the end of the campaign they won their final play-off fixture against the Republic of Ireland comfortably thanks to a Christian Eriksen hat-trick and are hitting form at the right time.
Denmark Squad Outlook
Kasper Schmeichel, Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronow, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Bjelland, Peter Ankersen, Jens Stryger, Jonas Knudsen, William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Lukas Lerager , Lasse Schone, Mike Jensen, Christian Eriksen, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Pione Sisto , Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer, Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jorgensen, Nicklas Bendtner, Kasper Dolberg (27-man preliminary squad)
Christian Eriksen is undoubtedly Denmark’s best player with the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder developing into a world class player under Mauricio Pochettino, scoring 11 goals in qualifying for Denmark and being part of this season’s Premier League Team of the Year. If Eriksen can continue his form then Denmark may well surprise a few people.
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is following in his father Peter’s footsteps as a Premier League winner and his performances between the sticks will be key for this Denmark side. In front of him will be the likes of Brentford defender Andreas Bjelland who has made no secret of the fact that he is playing for a move to the top division.
Winger Pione Sisto is Denmark’s one to watch with the 23-year-old impressing in recent months for Celta Vigo and he too may well attract top level interest with a string of good performances having been linked with teams like Arsenal in the past.
In attack will be Kasper Dolberg, Ajax’s highly rated young striker and the 20-year-old is regularly noted as a star of the future. An impressive World Cup may mean that future is now.
Denmark’s worst player is also a striker, football’s perennial laughing stock Lord Nicklas Bentdner who is not only nowhere near good enough to be playing at a World Cup, he is also carrying an injury so if he is considered fit enough to make the final 23 will be woefully under-prepared, making his selection ahead of Cardiff hero Kenneth Zohore even more baffling.
King of the Country
It could easily have been Peter Schmeichel but I think Michael Laudrup is Denmark’s best ever player. While he may be known by modern day fans as a former Swansea boss, in his day Laudrup won league titles at Ajax, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus and was a key part of Johann Cruyff’s Barcelona “Dream Team”.
Who’s the Gaffa
Veteran Norweigan manager Age Hareide is Denmark’s manager and was a surprise choice to replace Danish legend Morten Olsen in March 2016 but he has countered all skepticism with an excellent run of form in 2017 which led to Denmark’s World Cup qualification.
Likely finish in the group: 2nd
Overall finish: Last 16
Lazy Fan Fact:
Since the 2002 World Cup, Denmark have followed a pattern of qualifying for alternate World Cup’s, missing the 2006 and 2014 editions but qualifying for the 2010 and now 2018 competitions. Expect them to miss out on the 2022 World Cup should the pattern continue.
<< Previous Preview
For more like this, visit our dedicated football page here. Meanwhile, follow us on Facebook for more opinions and analysis right to your timeline.