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Focus on Denmark: The team standing between England and the Euro 2020 final

By July 3, 2021No Comments

Denmark stand in the way of England and a first major final since the 1966 World Cup.

The Danes made the semi-finals on a wave of emotion having seen midfield star Christian Eriksen collapse after suffering a cardiac arrest during their tournament opener against Finland in Copenhagen.

Here, the PA news agency puts the focus on Denmark ahead of their last-four clash at Wembley.

Form

Focus on Denmark: The team standing between England and the Euro 2020 final PLZ Soccer
Denmark handed Wales a heavy defeat (PA)

Denmark came into Euro 2020 in outstanding form, losing only twice in 28 games. They then lost their first two games at the tournament – 1-0 to Finland in the game overshadowed by Eriksen’s incident and 2-1 to Belgium despite an encouraging display. But since then the Danes have put four past Russia and Wales before a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in the quarter-final.

Coach

Focus on Denmark: The team standing between England and the Euro 2020 final PLZ Soccer
Kasper Hjulmand had been set to take charge of Denmark after the original Euro 2020 tournament, before it was postponed (Stuart Franklin/AP)

Kasper Hjulmand was originally due to become Denmark manager after Euro 2020 with his predecessor Age Hareide’s contract due to expire. But the 12-month postponement of the finals due to the coronavirus pandemic allowed him to be in charge. Hjulmand, 49, was forced to end his playing career at the age of 26 due to a knee injury. He began his coaching career at Lyngby and had two spells at Nordsjaelland either side of an unhappy nine-month spell at Mainz in Germany. Hjulmand has won 12, drawn two and lost four of his 18 games as Denmark coach.

Tactics

Focus on Denmark: The team standing between England and the Euro 2020 final PLZ Soccer
Joakim Maehle has impressed down the left (PA)

Denmark began the tournament in a 4-3-3 shape but the loss of playmaker Eriksen prompted a rethink and a switch to a three-man central defence. Skipper Simon Kjaer is flanked by Jannik Vestergaard and Andreas Christensen at the back, with central midfielders Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg protecting the defence and starting attacks. Left-wing back Joakim Maehle and the impressive Mikkel Damsgaard provide the creativity while Kasper Dolberg has scored three goals in two games since being handed the central striking role.

Key men

Focus on Denmark: The team standing between England and the Euro 2020 final PLZ Soccer
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel hopes to emulate his father Peter and become a European Championship winner with Denmark (Stuart Franklin/AP)

Denmark won the 1992 European Championship with Peter Schmeichel in goal, and his son Kasper provides another formidable barrier three decades on. Central defender Kjaer, as he showed during the Eriksen incident, is an inspirational leader and the midfield pair of Delaney and Hojbjerg are two streetwise campaigners. In the absence of Eriksen, exciting Sampdoria winger Damsgaard is capable of sprinkling Danish stardust.

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