We take a look at England’s opponents’ strengths, vulnerabilities, danger men, and tactics before of the clash on Wednesday.
Denmark has advanced to their fourth European Championship semi-final after defeating the Czech Republic in Baku. They’ve won one, against the Netherlands in 1992, when they won the entire tournament, and they’ve lost two, to the Soviet Union in 1964 and Spain in 1984, respectively. On Wednesday, they will face England at Wembley Stadium.
Kasper Hjulmand’s team has already experienced an emotional rollercoaster this summer, from Christian Eriksen’s cardiac crisis in their first game, which they lost 1-0 to Finland, to overcoming Russia 4-1 to go to the knockout phase, and two consecutive victories against Wales and the Czech Republic.
Class and coaching, not just team spirit, are the foundations of Denmark’s Euro 2020 campaign.
Andy Hunter is a well-known figure in the
Andy Hunter is a well-known figure in the
Here, we look at how the team might approach the England game, as well as the threats that await Gareth Southgate’s side, as well as hints on how to beat them.
Strengths They are, of course, motivated by the bond formed after the tragic events of June 12th, when Eriksen collapsed, but they were already a strong force. Hjulmand has improved on what ge Hareide created from 2016 to 2020, making them more expansive and attack-oriented. The three-man defence of Simon Kjr, Andreas Christensen, and Jannik Vestergaard has performed admirably in the European Championship finals, while up front, Mikkel Damsgaard, Eriksen’s replacement in the starting XI, and Kasper Dolberg, who has three goals in the tournament, including one against the Czechs, provide some unpredictability.
Weaknesses The Czech Republic demonstrated in the quarter-final that having an extra man in midfield may give you an advantage. Jaroslav Silhavy’s half-time substitutes had an immediate impact, and the Danes were under persistent pressure for 15 minutes before Hjulmand answered with a double swap of his own. However, central midfielders Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hjbjerg were unable to cope during that time, and Denmark was significantly less dangerous moving forward after the adjustments. The Czechs also demonstrated that they can get at the Danes in the air at set-pieces, however Tomas Soucek and Petr Sevcik were unable to convert the advantage this time.
Tactics Hjulmand loves a 3-4-3 formation but isn’t afraid to switch things up. The wing-backs, Joakim Mhle and either Jens Stryger Larsen or Daniel Wass, are crucial to the team’s success. They must cover a lot of distance – and have done so thus far. Mhle’s flexibility is demonstrated by his success on the wrong side of the pitch — he plays on the right side for Atalanta but on the left for the national team. The front three should also track back and assist the two centre defenders. Dolberg made a block slightly outside his own area during the game against the Czechs around the half-hour mark. When the Czechs regained possession of the ball and attempted another delivery, Damsgaard was there to intercept it before it reached the danger zone.
Men in peril Up front, Dolberg and Damsgaard are the creative sparks, with the latter excelling at finding gaps between the opposition’s defence and midfield. Damsgaard has been dubbed “the new Michael Laudrup” for his ability to thrive on the largest platform. He is only twenty-one years old. Martin Braithwaite of Barcelona, previously of Middlesbrough, is the third component of the Danish assault. He is a diligent worker who lacks goal threat. Yussuf Poulsen of RB Leipzig has two goals in the competition despite coming off the bench in the last few games.
Coach Hjulmand was meant to succeed Hareide after Euro 2020, but due to the pandemic’s forced postponement, he arrived a year before the event. He’s had a lot of success. He rose to prominence at Nordsjlland in 2012, earning the club’s first league title. His zeal was not dampened by a disappointing tenure at Mainz, where he replaced Thomas Tuchel. Before being recruited to take over the national team, he returned to Nordsjlland. “He has played a critical role,” Mhle remarks. “He has a knack for talking to the players and allowing them the freedom that so many of them crave. He’s a great instructor and has become a friend to us.”
Momentum They can sense the presence of the energy. They received fantastic support at their first three home games at Parken, and the sensation that something exceptional is on the way has only intensified as the days have passed. They donned T-shirts for the Czech game that said, “We are not going home, we are going on.” That match was likely the most draining of their energy thus far in the competition, and Hjulmand had actually chosen to face the Czechs due to their intensity and work-rate. After the game, the Danes were exhausted, much more so than the English players who had just won 4-0 against Ukraine.
The Danes’ travel itinerary has not been the most demanding. They, like England, played all of their group games at home, and even the last-16 game, which was held in Amsterdam, did not need a long journey. A quarter-final in Baku, however, has not aided the team, as they must now return to Denmark before heading to London for the semi-final on Wednesday.