World Cup Team Preview: Denmark

Infantino thanks Russia for hosting ‘best World Cup ever’

Denmark missed out on qualification for the World Cup in Brazil four years ago but were emphatic in their 5-1 play-off defeat of the Republic of Ireland to bag a spot at Russia 2018.

Having failed to qualify for Euro 2016, Denmark’s longest-serving coach Morten Olsen was replaced by 64-year-old former Norway boss Age Hareide.

The new man at the helm led his charges to a second-placed finish behind Poland in the six-team group qualifiers to earn their play-off spot where talisman Christian Eriksen scored a hat-trick alongside goals from Andreas Christensen and Nicklas Bendtner.

Eriksen had been excellent throughout the qualifiers, scoring 11 goals in 10 games.

The Danes’ reward has been a place in Group C at the quadrennial showpiece where they will face France, Australia and Peru, when the tournament kicks off on June 14.

The world’s 12th best side, according to FIFA’s latest rankings, have only ever made it to four World Cups but tasted success as a nation, with a shock European Championship win in 1992 that was followed by narrowly losing to Brazil in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1998.

Peter Schmeichel was in goal then and will enjoying watching his son, Kasper, in Russia but it will take a monumental effort from the likes of Eriksen, Captain Simon Kjaer and company if they are to progress to the knockout round.

Kasper Schmeichel Denmark

Bendtner, meanwhile, is unfortunate to be missing out on this tournament after picking up a groin injury, alongside Brentford’s injured defender Andreas Bjelland.

Big things are expected of 23-year-old Uganda-born winger Pione Sisto, who plays for Celta Vigo. He has 13 international caps, although realistically Denmark are challenging for second place in Group C, against Peru and Australia, with France expected to end on top of the pile after the opening three games.

Denmark squad
Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Frederik Ronnow (Brondby), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield).

Defenders: Simon Kjaer (Sevilla), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Jonas Knudsen (Ipswich).

Midfielders: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Deportivo La Coruna), Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen), William Kvist (FC Copenhagen), Lukas Lerager (Bordeaux).

Forwards: Andreas Cornelius (Atalanta), Kasper Dolberg (Ajax), Martin Braithwaite (Bordeaux), Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord), Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo), Viktor Fischer (FC Copenhagen), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig).