Denmark will participate in their sixth FIFA World Cup in Qatar
We highlight five reasons they could win their second major trophy
Christian Eriksen and a stellar defence feature
Back in November, when Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand was asked by FIFA.com whether he was happy with Denmark’s status as dark horses for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, he replied: “I think it’s great because it means we’re obviously doing something right. For me, the only thing better would be if they say we are one of the favourites! “We don’t think we’re better than others, but we know that we’re a good team and that we can compete with anyone. And if there’s pressure that comes from being thought of as contenders, we’re ok with that.” Here are five reasons why Denmark could go the distance at this year’s World Cup.
The defending champions have gone out at the group stage on six occasions: in 1950 (Italy), 1966 (Brazil), 2002 (France), 2010 (Italy), 2014 (Spain) and 2018 (Germany). Could the Danes help this to happen for a seventh time? Paired with holders France in Group D, they have a good chance of winning their group and potentially setting up an easier route to the final.
After the dramatic events of UEFA EURO 2020 surrounding their No10 Christian Eriksen, Denmark have perfected something like no other nation has: cohesion and team spirit. As the 30-year-old midfielder battles his way back into the national team, he has become a very special symbol of hope for the Danish side – not just for the country’s fans, but for people all over the world far beyond the football pitch. Yet having a talismanic player is not enough in itself to win the title – that player needs to put in strong performances too. Christian Eriksen did exactly that on his international return in two friendlies against Serbia and the Netherlands at the end of March, scoring two of Denmark’s five goals with a strike in each game.
Denmark are currently 11th on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, making them the best-placed team in Pot 2 after Mexico (9th) and the Netherlands (10th). Back in 1986, Argentina proved that it is possible to become world champions even if you are not among the top seeds in a tournament.
The Danes notched up 27 points in European qualifying for Qatar 2022™ to complete a near-perfect campaign. Only Germany amassed as many points as Denmark. Their hopes of being the strongest European team in qualification were still intact until the last matchday, when Scotland added a blemish to their otherwise perfect record by beating them 2-0. This brings us to the next measure of Denmark’s encouraging prospects for the World Cup. With just three goals conceded in their entire campaign, their defence was among the best in European qualifying. Only Switzerland trumped them by letting just two goals in, while France and England matched their record.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Denmark’s only major title: EURO 1992. Can Kasper Schmeichel and team-mates emulate his dad Peter and Co and seize them a trophy?