**Dark Horse Alert!** Denmark could be a contender.

A look at the Danish team who could surprise a few at this summer's tournament.

**Dark Horse Alert!** Denmark could be a contender.

In Gareth Southgate's interview with Adam Smith after the announcement of his 26 man squad, the England manager listed a few of the tournament's contenders.

"There are probably 8-10 teams who could win this tournament."

He went on to say.

"You've mentioned a couple of the teams there [ Belgium, France, and Portugal], but you've got teams that are improving rapidly with experienced managers, Spain, Italy, for example. I think teams like Denmark have picked up successful results over a long period of time. So there are teams that are probably in the favourites to win, but then there are other teams who could beat anyone on their day."

I was surprised to hear the name of the Danes, but it makes sense that they would be fresh in Southgate's mind after the Nordic side got the better of England last year at Wembley. Aside from that result, Denmark has been on a superb run for several years now and have some real quality in its Euro 2020 squad. So if the unthinkable happens and they win the whole thing, it'll be less surprising than their Leicester-like/Greece-like/insert here, triumph in 1992.


Goalkeepers: Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronnow, Kasper Schmeichel

Defenders: Joachim Andersen, Nicolai Boilesen, Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen, Simon Kjaer, Joakim Maehle, Jens Stryger Larsen, Jannik Vestergaard

Midfielders: Anders Christiansen, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Mathias Jensen, Christian Norgaard, Robert Skov, Daniel Wass

Forwards: Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Cornelius, Mikkel Damsgaard, Kasper Dolberg, Andreas Skov Olsen, Yussuf Poulsen, Jonas Wind

Head Coach

Kasper Hjulmand

The former player enjoyed Danish league success with FC Nordsjaelland before a brief, unsuccessful spell with Mainz in the Bundesliga. Denmark would have entered Euro 2020 with former coach Age Hareide if not for the postponement of the tournament. But the Norwegian's contract was not renewed, and Hjulmund took over in 2020. The Danes have continued their impressive run of form under his management.

Key Player

Christian Eriksen

Serie A winner with Inter, Eriksen was the top scorer for Denmark in qualification and has more than 100 caps for his country. English fans will be well aware of his ability, and opposing defences will have to stifle his attacking output to quite the Danes.

One to Watch

Jonas Wind

The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakout year in the 2020/21 league season. The tall, creative Copenhagen forward scored 17 goals and laid on 8 assists in his 32 appearances across all club competitions. Wind made his debut for the national team in October 2020 and has netted 3 times in his first 6 appearances for the Red and White.

Recent results

Denmark was in the Nations league highest division, in a group with Belgium, England and Iceland. They finished the campaign with a strong tally of 10 points, level with England, but in second place. They were unbeaten against England and Iceland, enjoying a famous win at Wembley, and only suffered at the hands of their Euro 2020 Group B opponents, Belgium, on both occasions.

Denmark's run of form has been staggering, and the Nations League now gives us a much better marker for their level as they frequently compete against sides of similar ability. They have suffered only two defeats in the past five years of international football - as previously mentioned, both to Belgium. That time spans several competitive and friendly matches, as well as the 2018 World Cup, where they came away unbeaten. Denmark played both World Cup finalists in consecutive games at the tournament, their final group stage match and the Round of 16. A penalty shootout defeat to Croatia followed their goalless draw with eventual winners, France.

They currently sit atop their World Cup 2022 qualification group with a maximum of 9 points after wins against Isreal, Moldova and Austria. The Danes are yet to concede while scoring 14 goals in the process.

Tactical tendency

As with many top-quality sides, there is a lot of flexibility in the squad. Head coach Kasper Hjulmand has often switched between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 depending on the opposition. They have also experimented with a 3-4-3 as their fine collection of central defensive options give them more ability than most in the backline. A 4-1-4-1 has also been deployed on the odd occasion.

Denmark is more than happy to cede possession to top opponents but can control the play if game state suits. They remain a defensively solid side, but recent results have shown an improvement in their inability to create chances and score goals. Fantastic performances from Eriksen will be critical if they are to topple the big boys.

Euro 2020

Unfortunately for Denmark, they can't escape the one team that has got their number. Again, they matched up with Belgium. Roberto Martinez's side is too strong for most teams, and I expect it to be the same here on 17th June. The other two Group B opponents should be relatively straightforward, although Russia could surprise them. Denmark's first game is against Finland, where I'd assume they'll get off to a good start before sealing qualification in their final match against the Russians. A second-place finish looks nailed on, but due to the multitude of potential Round of 16 opponents, it's hard to trace a path beyond that point at this early stage. However, I can speculate using my pre-tournament predictions. A second-place finish could yield a Round of 16 tie with Switzerland and a Quarter Final tie against Netherlands or Poland if following those results. Although highly unlikely all matchups will align as anticipated, Denmark will fancy their chances of getting a result against most teams in the competition. I don't think it's too far-fetched to believe they could be that surprise major tournament semi-finalist or even more.