Denmark World Cup profile
FootieLive’s Denmark World Cup profile takes a detailed look at the Danish football team.
Some 32 years on from when they first graced the World Cup finals, Denmark are back in the big time and contesting the tournament for a fifth time in their history.
The Danes have been beyond the group stage in three of their previous four appearances, so their pool rivals better beware.
Danish Dynamite is more than just a nickname for this Scandinavian country’s current crop of players.
Read all about them and their prospects in Russia in our Denmark World Cup profile…
How did they qualify?
These Viking raiders needed the play-offs to reach a fifth World Cup finals.
After finishing runners-up in UEFA qualifying Group E to Poland and their prolific centre forward Robert Lewandowski, Denmark played the Republic of Ireland over two legs.
While the first game in Copenhagen was a cagey affair, the return match in Dublin saw the Danes book their tickets to Russia in emphatic fashion with a 5-1 win.
Previous World Cup record
As outlined above, there’s been Danish representation at four other World Cup finals.
First qualifying for Mexico 1986, Denmark also played at France ’98, in Japan and South Korea in 2002 and most recently South Africa (2010).
It’s on European soil where they fared best, going all the way to the quarter-finals 20 years ago.
FIFA World Ranking: 19
Being inside the top 20 footballing nations in the world when the World Cup draw was made, Denmark were the highest ranked third seeds in it.
That makes them dangerous opposition and their pool of opponents in Russia know it.
The Danes shall give Group C second seeds Peru plenty to worry about at the tournament.
Manager: Age Hareide
Denmark’s Norwegian boss Age Hareide played as a defender for Manchester City and Norwich City in the 1980s.
He had the unenviable task of following in long-serving Danish national team manager Morten Olsen’s footsteps after 15 years in the post.
Hareide has won all three major Scandinavian domestic leagues as a coach and spent five years in charge of his native Norway.
Several clubs he’s managed should be familiar to regular watchers of European football.
Among the teams on Hareide’s CV are Molde, Helsingborgs, Brondy, Rosenborg, Viking Stavanger and Malmo.
He took over from Olsen at the end of 2015 and guided the Danes to the World Cup finals.
Key player: Christian Eriksen
Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen enjoyed a sensational goalscoring return during qualifying.
In Europe, only the aforementioned Lewandowski and Portugal icon Cristiano Ronaldo netted more goals en route to the World Cup.
Eriksen’s 11, including a play-off hat-trick against Ireland, was the same tally as Belgium frontman Romelu Lukaku managed for the qualifying campaign, so that shows his level.
As the Danes’ set-piece and penalty taker, he does have greater opportunities than most to get on the scoresheet.
Besides his huge contribution in front of goal, Eriksen also set-up four others for teammates.
He was involved in 15 of Denmark’s 25 goals in qualifying, then, which is a whopping 60 per cent.
Eriksen is 5/4 favourite with BetVictor to be top Danish goalscorer at the World Cup finals.
Rising stars: Andreas Christensen and Kasper Dolberg
Enough about the established star, what about the improving youngsters around him?
Well, Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen has surprised everyone by forcing his way into Antonio Conte’s plans at Stamford Bridge.
After two years on loan in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach, he’s become a Premier League regular.
Christensen featured in half of Denmark’s 12 World Cup qualifying matches, scoring the first of five goals in their Dublin play-offs rout that sent them to the final.
Ajax forward Kasper Dolberg, meanwhile, is yet to start a full Danish international yet remains hot property.
This youngster showcased what he can do nicely when bagging a brace in a 4-1 victory at major Eredivisie rivals Feyenoord.
Dolberg also has a senior goal for his country, netting against Kazakhstan off the bench, but is among an ensemble cast of attacking talents.
Hareide abandoned his 3-5-2 system in favour of the en vogue 4-2-3-1 set-up during qualifying.
Premier League winning goalkeeper with Leicester City, Kasper Schmeichel and Denmark skipper Simon Kjaer are key parts of their spine with the defence conceding just nine goals en route to Russia.
William Kvist – once of Wigan Athletic and Fulham – sits in front of the defence, allowing Thomas Delaney to get forward from midfield.
This Danish side is built around Eriksen of course, who operates off the front.
Who leads and flanks the attack is more pragmatic with young Dolberg, ex-Arsenal frontman Niklas Bendtner, Middlesbrough duo past and present Viktor Fischer and Martin Braithwaite, former Cardiff City flop Andreas Cornelius, Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen and RB Leipizig’s Yussuf Poulsen all staking claims.
Getting the right blend of forwards is Hareide’s biggest task between now and the World Cup finals.
Group and betting
As Denmark were drawn in Group C at the tournament, they play Peru, Australia and France in that order.
In many ways, this pool is perfectly set up for them, as the Danes’ key game comes first.
BetVictor go 11/2 they finish top of the group, so they’re well behind the French in the betting.
That is where Denmark are likely to be when this pool is over.
Australia and Peru lack their attacking depth and solid base.
At 80/1 to win the World Cup, that Danish Dynamite would really have to blow the tournament open, but they can maintain a fine record of reaching the knockout phase.
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