In any other group, Denmark might have been one of the dark horses of Euro 2012. In Group B, however, they have hardly even been considered as potential quarter-finalists in by far and away the toughest group in the competition. The Danes’ chances will revolve around a couple of talented play makers, and a system designed to stifle the opposition into a low-scoring defeat.
In 1992, Denmark shocked the footballing world by winning the European Championships having replaced a war-torn Yugoslavia at the last minute. The class of ’92 is not a million miles away from the current crop of hopefuls, with a handful of talented individuals sprinkled in and among a troop of experienced professionals, and in Christian Eriksen, they have a dynamic young midfielder capable of lighting up the tournament like Brian Laudrup did twenty years ago.
Manager – Morten Olsen
Morten Olsen is a man who represents a large chunk of Danish football history. The 62-year-old represented his country on no less than 102 occasions, captaining them 50 times, and has managed them for twelve years. In some respects, Morten Olsen is Danish football. His side will shape up conservatively, relying on Arsenal target man Nicklas Bendtner to hold up the ball in front. In a group of fast flowing attack minded football, Olsen’s will provide a different challenge for Germany, Holland and Portugal.
Key Man – Christian Eriksen
It is no secret that Ajax’s 20 year old midfield playmaker Christian Eriksen will hold many of the cards if Denmark are to perform a miracle to progress from the group of death. He was the youngest player at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and is still the youngest ever goal scorer in Euro Championship qualifying. In terms of clubs around Europe, Eriksen has a list of suitors as long as his arm, Manchester United, Barcelona and a host of Italian clubs have had their names linked with the starlet, who has been compared with the Laudrup brothers by Johan Cruyff. Expect Bendtner to play a key role, along with wingers Michael Krohn-Dehli and international veteran Denis Rohmmedahl. Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer make up a centre-half partnership of real class.
Fixtures – Holland, 9th June (Kharkiv), Portugal, 13th June (Lviv), Germany, 17th June (Lviv)
FIFA World Ranking – 9th (6th at Euro 2012)
Odds - 80-1
Verdict – Whilst their odds of 80-1 have more to do with their group opponents rather than their general quality, they are probably fair for a side that faces two of the pre-tournament favourites, and a Portugal side featuring Cristiano Ronaldo before they even reach the quarter finals. Denmark can feel hard done by the fact that had they been drawn into Group A, for example they would have been favourites. Still, the spirit of ’92 lives on, and if their key players step up to the mark, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Denmark could spring a massive upset. But it would be a massive upset. My verdict – knocked out at the group stage.