Qatar 2022 Underdogs: Denmark's Outrageously Impressive Form

People don't realise how good Denmark actually have been

Denmark’s run to the semi-finals of this year's European Championship was seen as a surprise to many as they lost their first two games, only just reached the knockout stages, and failed to even qualify for the previous tournament in 2016.

However, what their qualifying for the World Cup in 2022 has shown is that they could be a serious threat to go far in that tournament as well, and their form has seen them have better odds at winning the tournament than perennial contenders Uruguay.

An exceptionally well-drilled side

So far in their group, Denmark have had a flawless run They have played eight games and won all eight, without conceding a single goal and scoring 28 of their own, making them the best defense and second-best attack in the qualifiers so far.

Denmark do have some tough fixtures in their group which most teams will find difficult to play against, but they haven’t had any problems so far, their first round of fixtures showed their intent, a 2-0 win against an up and coming Israel, the joint biggest win of the qualifiers so far with an 8-0 win over Moldova and a very impressive 4-0 win away to Austria, a side that took Italy to extra time in the Euros.

After the disappointment of getting knocked out in the semi-finals in the Euros, a lot of teams will struggle to get over it, however, Denmark have got even stronger, even after losing one of their best players in Christian Eriksen.
The first set of internationals after the Euros saw Denmark breeze past Scotland in an impressive 2-0 win at home, making them the only team in the group to beat Scotland so far, they struggled to beat the Faroe Islands, but an 85th-minute winner by Jonas Wind kept their perfect record intact, this followed by a 5-0 win over Israel really showed a state of intent for the upcoming World Cup.

Their recent wins over Moldova and Austria secured their qualification for the upcoming World Cup, where they have the 11th best odds for winning the tournament, but with a team that is constantly developing with young talent, by the time the tournament comes around, their odds could rise.

A proper, proper team with a new manager on the scene

Denmark do not have a star player which they build their system around, but instead have a lot of very good players that work very well in a system by their coach, Kasper Hjulmand, who recently reportedly turned down the Aston Villa managerial job to stay with the Danish team.

Since taking over as the Danish manager in July 2020, Kasper Hjulmand has transformed this team, shown by his win percentage as manager, which is the 3rd highest in Danish history at 70.83%, well above the average for a Danish manager which is at 46.81%.

What Kasper Hjulmand has brought to Denmark is that they can be tactically flexible, switching between a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3 has seen them become less predictable and have options to change if the game isn’t going their way.

Along with great management, Denmark have a lot of young talent coming through the ranks, the likes of Mikkel Damsgaard, who's got two goals and four assists in the qualifiers so far at 21 years of age, has been Denmark’s creative outlet on the left hand side and with his performances at the Euros and good form for his club, Sampdoria, it has seen him linked with many big Premier League clubs, including Liverpool and Tottenham.

Even though Denmark have got the second-best scoring record through the first eight games of the World Cup Qualifiers, their top scorers are Joakim Maehle and Andreas Skov Olsen each with four goals so far, this showing that Denmark are playing as a team, with no one individual to rely on to score goals.

Even though Denmark’s run through the knockout stages of the Euros wasn’t the hardest of runs, beating Wales and the Czech Republic to advance, they showed in those games and the qualifiers so far that they are a very cohesive team, very structured in both defence and attack, and any international team that has a very distinct defensive structure to it, has a chance to cause a few upsets in tournaments.


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