Kazakhstan welcomes Denmark to the Astana Arena this Sunday on the second match day of qualifiers for Euro 2024. The hosts start their qualification journey against Slovenia on Thursday before the visit by Denmark who would’ve faced Finland in their opener.
Hosts Kazakhstan currently sit 115th in FIFA’s most recent world ranking, two places further down than the earlier rankings in October. Kazakhstan became a member of UEFA in 2002 after being a member of the AFC for ten years between 1992 and 2002. Kazakhstan have never qualified for a World Cup or the UEFA European Championship, but will try their luck during these qualifiers in a group that consists of Denmark, Finland, Northern Ireland, San Marino and Slovenia.
In their last five games Kazakhstan have two wins and three losses. The two wins came in the Nations League in 2022, a 2 - 1 win over Slovakia, goals from Yan Vorogovskiy and Elkhan Astanov enough to grab the win for Kazakhstan and a 2 - 1 win over Belarus. Kazakhstan managed to keep Belarus out despite a late frenzy seeing Askhat Tagybergen see red in the 94th minute. The three losses came against Azerbaijan - a 3 - 0 loss with another red card, a 2 - 0 loss to Uzbekistan and a 2 - 1 loss to the United Arab Emirates.
The visitors Denmark are much further up the FIFA rankings, sitting 18th from the December review, an eight place fall from their tenth-place ranking in August and October 2022. Denmark had a vastly disappointing World Cup, especially after their dream run to the 2021 Euros Semi-finals. The Danes finished bottom of Group D with a single point from their 0 - 0 draw with Turkey, and will be looking to climb back up the FIFA rankings and to book their places back in the European Championships.
Of Denmark’s last five games, three of them were the group stages of the World Cup, the other two coming in the Nations League, leaving them with one win, one draw and three losses. Their win was a shock against the then World Champions France in the Nations League, stunning Les Bleus 2 - 0 with goals from Kasper Dolberg and Andreas Skov Olsen. The draw was the goalless encounter with Turkey in their World Cup opener. On match day five of the Nations League Denmark lost 2 - 1 to Croatia, then lost their last two World Cup games, 2 - 1 against France, with Kylian Mbappe grabbing the winner in the 86th minute, and a surprising 1 - 0 loss to underdogs Australia.
Kazakhstan and Denmark have only played each other four times in their histories. Denmark have won every single encounter. Their first meeting came back in the World Cup qualifiers in 2005 where Denmark dominated 3 - 0, though this was the only clash in which Kazakhstan failed to score against Denmark. In the following games in 2005, 2016 and 2017, all World Cup qualifiers, Denmark once again won, but could not keep a clean sheet, winning 2 - 1, 4 - 1 and 3 - 1.
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