Can Denmark repeat 92 Heroics?

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Denmark's squad is packed full of talent and they could be worth a punt to claim the spoils at Euro 2020.

Christian Eriksen

Denmark famously triumphed at Euro 92 despite only entering the tournament as late replacements for Yugoslavia.

They have won just three matches at European Championship finals since lifting the trophy and will be desperate to improve that record this summer.

Home Advantage Boosts Denmark’s Hopes of Glory

Despite going through qualifying unbeaten, Denmark still left it late to seal their place at Euro 2020.

Needing to avoid defeat in Ireland to qualify automatically, they held on for a tense 1-1 draw after Matt Doherty’s 85th-minute equaliser gave the Irish hope of a dramatic late victory.

It was hardly a vintage qualifying group and three of the Danes’ four wins were routs of Gibraltar (beaten 6-0 home and away) and Georgia, thumped 5-1 at home.

They showed their resilience by scoring three times in the last six minutes to pinch a point in Switzerland and they beat the Swiss 1-0 in the return fixture thanks to a fine performance by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Having failed to qualify for Euro 2016, the Danes had a respectable 2018 World Cup campaign, losing on penalties in the last 16 against a Croatia side who went on to reach the final.

Denmark are 66/1 for a repeat of their 1992 triumph, which is understandable given their modest recent tournament record, but the draw gives them a live chance of reaching the knockout stages, especially as all three of their group games take place in Copenhagen.

World Cup semi-finalists Belgium are hot favourites at 20/29 to top Group B with the Danes 11/4 second-favourites, ahead of 9/2 shots Russia and 18/1 outsiders Finland.

Change of Coach No Problem for Settled Squad

Age Hareide guided Denmark through the qualification campaign but his contract expired last year, giving former Mainz and Nordsjaelland coach Kasper Hjulmand a crack at the postponed finals.

Hjulmand has delivered some promising results in the Nations League, doing the double over Iceland and winning 1-0 against England at Wembley after Harry Maguire was sent off in the first half.

However, the Danes were outclassed twice by Belgium in the Nations League, losing 2-0 and 4-2 to opponents they must face again in their Euro 2020 group.

Hjulmand inherited a squad packed with club and international experience and a settled selection policy is one of Denmark’s great strengths.

Schmeichel, whose dad Peter was a European champion in 1992, is a rock-solid keeper while AC Milan centre-back Simon Kjaer could be partnered by Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen or Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard.

Dortmund’s Thomas Delaney and Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are a couple of classy defensive midfielders, allowing Christian Eriksen the freedom to roam.

Eriksen was Denmark’s top scorer in qualifying with five goals and his penalty earned them the Nations League win over England.

He has fallen out of favour at Inter Milan, which must be a concern for national coach Hjulmand, but he remains Denmark’s key creative influence although Yussuf Poulsen of RB Leipzig and Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite are other goal threats.

Fast Start Would be Great for Danes

Denmark play their three group matches in Copenhagen and they are rated 4/9 home bankers to make a winning start against Finland.

Their second game is a formidable test against Belgium but they have no reason to fear a Russia side who were stuffed 5-0 by Serbia in their final Nations League game.

Home advantage should smooth Denmark’s path to the last 16 although they will need Eriksen to rediscover his mojo if they are to go deep into the tournament.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Chris is broadcast and written journalist with a wealth of experience, across a number of different sports. As well covering football on the radio, he is a regular online and print contributor on the likes of rugby union, American Football and Formula One.

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