The Nations of the 21st World Cup – Denmark

Denmark National Team

Danish NT

De Rød-Hvide

Every four years, national pride and footie artistry reach peak levels in a global dance of no small magnitude, the World Cup is here again. This summer, all eyes will be focused on Russia as the time to crown a champion draws ever near. With the sport’s best and brightest from 32 lucky nations on display, it’s time to take a look at what each squad brings to the table. We will dive deep beyond the usual team sheets, we’ll scratch beyond the player names, and get you ready to be the smartest on the couch/bar stool for Russia 2018.

Denmark

Qualifying Record (W-D-L) 6-2-2
Current FIFA World Ranking (May 2018) – 12th
World Cup 2014 Finish – DNQ
Russia 2018 Group C (France, Australia, Peru, Denmark)
Formation – 4-2-3-1
Strengths – Stout Defense, Attacking play
Weaknesses – Talent outside of Eriksen, Fullbacks
Major Threats – Christian Eriksen, Thomas Delaney

Back in the World Cup by way of the playoff after missing in 2014, Denmark is led by
maybe the greatest Danish player of all time. Will Christian Eriksen be enough to
carry this team out of the group?
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Federation Goal for RUSSIA 2018:

Getting back into the World
Cup was the first step for the Danes. Now comes the hard part. In a group that’s
essentially toss up for the second spot, the DBU will want De Rød-Hvide to dream of making it out of the group stage. After that? They’ll take the games as they come. Exit from the 1st round is the goal.

DEFENSE:

Denmark goes with a 4-3-3 iteration under manager Age Hareide, and most of their successes
in qualifying came when they adopted a direct style. The back line was the sturdy heart of their play, only allowing nine goals in the 12 qualifying and playoff matches. The back line is led by captain Simon Kjaer. Kjaer is a rock in defense. Tall and physical, he’s everything you want from your prototypical central defender. He’s known as a great leader, and the Danes benefit from his intangibles as much as they do his physical abilities. Also, he’s been known to take free kicks from time to time which you don’t often see from your Centerbacks. Doubtful he takes many with Eriksen in the squad but it’s an addition none the less. The Sevilla man will likely pair with Andreas Bjelland to form an experienced tandem in the middle of the defense. Bjelland adds some passing and playmaking from the back as well. For a while, it seemed Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen would be among the first choice centerbacks for
Denmark but he’s struggled to get into the side for the Blues in the season’s second half,
and Hareide has opted to go with the experience of Kjaer and Bjelland over the upside
Christensen provides.

Fullback represents the biggest weakness for the Danes as it’s been a rotating door there of late. Hareide has tried a number of players there recently, with no real set group going into the World Cup, there’s a worry this could hurt a previously strong defensive group. On the edges we’re likely to see Jens Stryger Larsen on the right, with Jonas Knudsen on the left. Stryger Larsen has played all over the back line for club and country. The versatile Dane has even seen starts in the midfield at times. He does well with the ball at his feet, but can struggle making tackles at times. Knudsen is a young player who sticks to the left side and adds a bit of pace himself, but isn’t going to add too much in the attacking third. This is a solid group all across the back, but they’ll struggle with some of the more athletic and speedy sides. Its also possible Christensen is shoehorned in here just to get him into the side. Christensen is versatile enough to do it, but it’s not the most effective spot for him
Hareide is betting on level headed experience winning out over raw athleticism. This group shouldn’t make a lot of mistakes, and that will be crucial in keying a Danish run out of the group stage.

In goal will be Kasper Scmhiechel. Great goalkeeping runs in the family, as he’s the son of former Manchester United and Danish National team keeper Peter Schmiechel. While dad may be regarded as one of the greatest keepers of all time, Kasper is no slouch himself. He plays between the pipes for Leicester City, and his save making ability was a major part of Leicester’s miracle run to the EPL title a few years back. Not the biggest keeper in terms of stature, but his key stops could prove the difference against upper level competition.

MIDFIELD:

Denmark’s midfield trio stands to dictate a lot of where this squad will go. Now much of that is because this group goes as Christian Eriksen goes. But his fellow midfielders, likely William Kvist and Thomas Delaney, will be crucial to the team’s success as well.

Kvist is a veteran in midfield, and settles into the defensive role. He is going to do the
dirty work in the midfield, screening the back line, cutting out passes, and making those gritty tackles. He’s not going to get forward, at all. In over 300 appearances for club and
country, he has a grand total of 16 goals. His propensity to stay back is important, as Christen Eriksen isn’t likely to provide much defensive cover. In an intriguing move, the manager had said he intended to try defender Andres Christiansen in this role during March friendlies, but injuries kept that experiment from happening. We’ll see if this is the spot where the Chelsea man can break onto the pitch, though it would be in a rather unexpected role.

Thomas Delaney will certainly appear in the other holding midfield role, and he’s more
than capable of making a huge impact there. Delaney has carved out a big role for himself at Werder Bremen, and it coincides with his rise in status at the national level as well. Delaney is a big, true box to box midfielder. He’s equally comfortable joining the attack in final third as he is breaking up opponents scoring chances. In a team designed to play off of their main man in the attack, his versatility should prove useful.

It seems unfair to say all of the hopes come down to one player for Denmark, but it
might be the case. 10 of the 11 players on the pitch for them are essentially ordinary, but Christen Eriksen is anything but. He’s proven himself to be a world class player for Spurs, but what he’s done for Denmark of late has been something spectacular. In UEFA World cup qualifying, he finished tied for 3rd in goals scored (11), and created more chances than any other player (41). His hat trick in the playoff against Ireland propelled his team into the World Cup, and he’ll be the reason they go deep in the tournament if they do. A gifted
attacking player, Eriksen scores goals from all over, and is an adept passer as well. His teammates know it, and once Denmark gets into the final third, their attack becomes almost entirely Eriksen-centric. It’s a blessing and a curse. Eriksen is gifted enough to create chances for the bundle of players running off ball around him, or take it for a quality look himself. However, he’s going to be the one man all opposing teams are looking to shut down. If he can’t make things happen, there isn’t another player on this squad capable of stepping up to the level needed to push them forward. If he’s on his game, Denmark should be a joy to watch and have a great chance to move out of a vulnerable group. Here’s hoping we get to see a patented Eriksen free kick at some point during the World Cup!

Eriksen of denmark

Christian Eriksen

STRIKERS:

Depending on how you look at it, I suppose you could argue Denmark plays a 4-2-3-1,
but the wingers that play alongside and in front of Christen Eriksen are really attacking focused players, so while they aren’t all true strikers, they’ll fall into that category here.

Pione Sisto is a true winger, and above all he is fast. So fast, he makes fast people look
not fast. That pace allows him to whiz by opposing fullbacks and search for scoring chances deep in the final third. He provides some added creativity to a squad in desperate need of it beyond Eriksen, albeit with his feet and not his passes. Often times he creates great positioning only to be let down by a poor final pass. He’ll start down the left side in the hope of stretching the defense and taking some pressure off his attacking midfielder.

Who plays on the right is a bit more up in the air, and depends upon what strategy Denmark wants to employ. They’ve thrived using a direct style of late, so it may behoove them to put another big physical scoring threat on the right like Andres Cornelius. At 6’4”, he’s a bruiser capable of playing the ball in the air, but doesn’t add much dynamism or pace. Another option could be Yussuf Poulsen. He’s only 23 but has begun to see success as a winger and forward with RB Leipzig this past season. He’s also a big physical presence, and while he doesn’t jump off the stat sheet with his goals and assists, he’s shown he can contribute to the squad in a number of ways, and does a tremendous job assisting defensively for a wide forward.

The striker looks to be Nicolai Jorgensen, and the man is a center forward through and
through. He’s been prolific for his club Feyenoord, and hopes to nail down the number 9 spot for Denmark as well. In what’s becoming a theme for Denmark forwards, Jorgensen is 6’3”, and is effective in using that size to create space for his clinical finishing. He’s not all brawn though, as he’s shown he has a knack for holding up play and finding his teammates as well, and his link up ability with Eriksen and the other forwards provides a little variation to what is normally a single minded Danish attack.

When you look at the options available to Denmark up top, it’s easy to see why the
direct style has been favored of late. Eriksen – and to a lesser extent Pisto – create, and
the big boys take it from there. Chances are route one soccer will be the style again
with this team.

GAME by GAME (v Peru, v Australia, v France)

*Keys to Peru game: This is the match to watch in this group, as it could decide who else comes out besides favorites France. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but if Eriksen can exploit Peru’s defense, they’ll have a great chance. Peru struggle with setpieces, so Eriksen is already licking his chops. Paolo Guerrero will test the Danish defense on the other side.
Prediction: Win for Denmark, but really, really close.

*Keys to Austraila game: Austraila are organized and methodical, so can the Danish back line stand strong against that? What sort of attacking options will they be able to create against a team that figures to get the ball away from Eriksen at all costs?
Prediction: Don’t expect this one to be pretty, but Denmark wins a close one.

*Keys to France game: France may be vulnerable, but the pure talent of this group is hard to ignore. Will Denmark be able to slow down the athletic and technical attack
the Frenchmen bring? Can they in turn break down a gifted but sometimes mistake-prone France defense? Will Deschamps torpedo his men with a bizarre tactical choice?
Prediction: France win based on talent alone, and shutting down a one dimensional Danish attack.

Denamrk

Danish World Cup Squad

Here’s the Danish Roster for Russia 2018

GOALKEEPERS (3): Kasper Schmeichel, Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronnow

DEFENDERS (7): Simon Kjaer, Jonas Knudsen, Mathias Jorgensen, Henrik Dalsgaard, Jens Strger-Larsen, Jannik Vestergard, Andreas Christensen

MIDFIELDERS (7): Christian Eriksen, Thomas Delaney, William Kvist, Lasse Shoene,
Pione Sisto, Lukas Lerager, Michael Krohn-Delhi

FORWARDS (6): Nicolai Jorgensen, Andreas Cornelius, Yussuf Poulsen, Viktor Fischer, Martin Braithwaite, Kasper Dolberg

Piece by James Wilkinson, frequent Center Circle writer, an avid fan of Tottenham Hotspur and the USMNT.

 

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About the author: James Wilkinson

 

An upstart soccer fan, I've been rabidly following Tottenham ever since Harry Kane took the world by storm. What I lack in soccer knowledge I make up for in pure passion for sports. I went to undergrad at TCU (Go Frogs!) and developed a bit of a reputation for taking intramural sports a bit too seriously. But lets be honest, if the game has a ball I'll play it anytime, anywhere. Currently working on an MBA at Mizzou, join me here at SoccerPro as I learn how to write about sports, and laugh at me if I fail miserably!

Website: https://www.soccerpro.com

 

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