UK

Euro 2020: Denmark have a pacey attack, feisty midfield and a superstitious boss with a lucky jumper

Denmark have become everyone’s second team for the extraordinary way they pulled together after Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest during their opening game against Finland.

But Gareth Southgate will know that in addition to the emotional pull, they will also pose a footballing threat in Wednesday’s semi-final at Wembley.

Not only have the Danes scored 10 goals in their last three games, they have plenty of players with experience in top European leagues — and have been European champions before, in 1992, which is something England can’t match. 

Denmark will meet England in the semis, having beat Czech Republic earlier on Saturday

England and Denmark will face off in the Euro 2020 semi-final after winning their games

HOW WILL DANES LINE UP? 

They favour a back three with captain Simon Kjaer flanked by Premier League centre backs, Andreas Christensen of Chelsea and Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard.

In a 3-4-3, they have a combative midfield pairing of Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and don’t mind playing the ball long to centre forward Kasper Dolberg, who has skilful runners either side of him in Martin Braithwaite and Mikkel Damsgaard.

If manager Kasper Hjulmand wants even more pace in attack, Yussuf Poulsen is an alternative to Dolberg. Wing-back Joakim Maehle of Atalanta likes to get forward and produced a brilliant assist against the Czechs.

Denmark have combative players in the middle of the park like Thomas Delaney (right)

Denmark have combative players in the middle of the park like Thomas Delaney (right)

LINKS WITH ENGLAND

Hojbjerg plays alongside Harry Kane for Tottenham and keeper Kasper Schmeichel has just helped Leicester City win the FA Cup.

Christensen has won the Champions League with Chelsea. Braithwaite once spent two years with Middlesbrough.

Vestergaard (Southampton) and Joachim Andersen (on loan at Fulham from Lyon) played in the Premier League last season and Jonas Lossl and Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen have done so before with Huddersfield.

Andreas Cornelius used to be at Cardiff and Christian Norgaard and Matthias Jensen play for Brentford.

The last meeting between the two countries resulted in a 1-0 win for Denmark in October when Eriksen scored the winning penalty and Harry Maguire was sent off.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (right) plays his club football for Tottenham in the Premier League

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (right) plays his club football for Tottenham in the Premier League

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN EFFECT 

The picture of Denmark’s players forming a circle around Eriksen, 29, to give him some dignity while he was receiving CPR on the pitch in Copenhagen will be remembered forever. His ordeal has inspired their campaign.

Denmark are on a magic run and want to win the Euros for Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch in their opening match

Denmark are on a magic run and want to win the Euros for Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch in their opening match

WATCH OUT FOR…

Dolberg is a strong and technically gifted centre forward in the Kane mould and has already scored three times at the Euros.

Winger Damsgaard turned 21 in yesterday’s win against Ukraine and has that little bit of magic, even more important to his country in Eriksen’s absence. 

The right-footed left wing-back Maehle has been one of the outstanding players at the tournament.

Striker Kasper Dolberg has stepped up for his country in the absence of star man Eriksen

Striker Kasper Dolberg has stepped up for his country in the absence of star man Eriksen

OTHER KEY MEN

Denmark won the 1992 European Championship with Peter Schmeichel in goal, and his son Kasper provides another formidable barrier three decades on. 

Central defender Kjaer, as he showed during the Eriksen incident, is an inspirational leader and the midfield pair of Delaney and Hojbjerg are two streetwise campaigners.

In the absence of Eriksen, exciting Sampdoria winger Damsgaard is capable of sprinkling Danish stardust. 

Kasper Schmeichel, son of Denmark legend Peter, is a formidable barrier in goal

Kasper Schmeichel, son of Denmark legend Peter, is a formidable barrier in goal

LUCKY CHARM

Manager Hjulmand put on his lucky black zipped sweater for the latter stages of the win against the Czechs despite the intense heat in Baku.

Afterwards he said with a smile: ‘The sweater will be with me at Wembley.’

Kasper Hjulmand revealed his black zipped sweater is his lucky jumper and that he'll be wearing it when Denmark play England at Wembley on Wednesday

Kasper Hjulmand revealed his black zipped sweater is his lucky jumper and that he’ll be wearing it when Denmark play England at Wembley on Wednesday

FORM

Denmark came into Euro 2020 in outstanding form, losing only twice in 28 games. They then lost their first two games at the tournament – 1-0 to Finland in the game overshadowed by Eriksen’s incident and 2-1 to Belgium despite an encouraging display. 

But since then the Danes have put four past Russia and Wales before a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in the quarter-final. 

PAST RESULTS

For once, in footballing terms, history is on England’s side.

These two nations have faced each other 21 times, with England winning 12 of them. Denmark have come out on top just four times while the other five games ended in a draw.

Denmark will however take confidence from the fact they beat England at Wembley the last time they played each other, Christian Eriksen scoring from the spot to hand them a 1-0 victory. 

Denmark will a slight psychological advantage, having won the last time they played England

Denmark will a slight psychological advantage, having won the last time they played England


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button