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FIFA World Cup 2018: Denmark look to make splash on world stage

Denmark have only become a regular presence in the FIFA World Cup since 1986 and they will be keen to make a positive impact in Russia after missing out on qualifying for the tournament in 2014.

football Updated: Jun 04, 2018 15:59 IST
Shayne Dias
Shayne Dias
Hindustan Times
FIFA World Cup 2018,2018 FIFA World Cup,Denmark national football team
Christian Eriksen (R) will spearhead Denmark’s challenge at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.(AFP)

Head coach: Age Hareide

FIFA World Cup history: Qualified four times; best – quarter-finals in 1998

Qualifying route: Finished second in qualifying group then beat Republic of Ireland in play-off

Squad (27-man provisional): Goalkeepers - Kasper Schmeichel, Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronow; Defenders – Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Bjelland, Henrik Dalsgaard, Peter Ankersen, Jens Stryger, Jonas Knudsen; Midfielders – William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone, Mike Jensen, Lukas Lerager, Michael Krohn-Dehli; Forwards – Pione Sisto, Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer, Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jorgensen, Nicklas Bendtner, Kasper Dolberg.

Denmark’s first foray into the FIFA World Cup came in 1986, something that was largely down to the fact that their football association prohibited players from playing professional club football.

However, they have been a steady side internationally since then, even though they have only qualified for the tournament four times before 2018.

The Denmark national football team have even tasted international success, winning the European championships in 1992 and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1995.

Despite that, they have never come close to tasting success on the world stage with a quarter-final exit in 1998 to eventual runners-up Brazil.

The current generation has some solid players but it remains unlikely that they will lead the side to World Cup glory in Russia; they would do well to navigate the group stages itself.

READ | FIFA World Cup 2018: Fyodor Smolov, Artem Dzyuba to spearhead Russia’s attack

However, the World Cup loves a good underdog story and in Age Hareide they have a coach who has tasted plenty of success at club level, even if it is limited only to Scandinavian nations.

A lot will rely on playmaker Christian Eriksen. The Tottenham midfielder has become one of the Premier League’s more consistent performers in recent years and will need to replicate that form in his country’s colours.

Three key players

Kasper Schmeichel – The son of legendary shot-stopper Peter Schmeichel has generally struggled to live up to his father’s reputation but has grown into a reliable presence over time. He was also a key part of Leicester City’s fairytale Premier League title winning run and will be keen to do well on the international stage.

Andreas Christensen – The fact that this young defender is now a first team regular at Chelsea – a club notorious for not using their youth players well, if at all – says a lot about his talent. His presence at the back and his ability to play the ball out from the back will be invaluable to the national team, who will look to play an attacking brand of football.

Christian Eriksen – While he struggled at the start of his Tottenham career, this playmaker has since become one of the first name on the teamsheet for the London-based club. Aside from regularly providing assists and scoring the occasional screamer, his ability from set pieces is also a valuable asset for his team.

First Published: Jun 04, 2018 15:59 IST