Denmark have an air of mystery about them at youth level, having never qualified for a FIFA U-17 or U-20 World Cup before. Even at continental level, their success has been limited to a quarter-final appearance at the UEFA U-17 European Championship in 2002.
Undoubtedly the surprise package of European qualifying, Denmark not only made it to the UEFA U-17 European Championship unbeaten (five wins, one draw), but also became the only team to reach the semi-finals in Serbia with a 100 per cent record from their three group games. Their achievements were made all the more impressive by the quality of the opposition, which included reigning champions England, 2004 winners France and the host Serbs. Ultimately the Danes bowed out of the competition in the last four following a loss to Germany. "I think we were the best team at the tournament and of course we want to try and win the World Cup now. In my opinion we have a good chance. Our results [in Serbia] have given us confidence and I don't think we need to fear anyone," said coach Thomas Frank following his side's 2-0 reverse against Germany.
Frank has been involved with the Danish FA since 2008, starting as coach of the U-16 team before taking over the U-17 reins. It appears as though the 37-year-old has now found the winning formula, and many are already tipping the young Danes to cause another stir at their first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup appearance in Mexico. Expertly marshalled by captain Frederik Holst, their defence has been in inspired form, conceding just six goals in their last ten games.