Friday 14 December 2018

Key man, where do they play and what's the verdict? All you need to know about Denmark

Christian Eriksen of Denmark
Christian Eriksen of Denmark

Ireland will face Denmark in the World Cup play-offs. Here is all you need to know about the Danes.

DENMARK

Coach: Age Hareide

Star man: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)

One to watch: Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen)

FIFA ranking: 19th

STADIUM: Parken Stadium, 38,065 capacity.

Tottenham midfielder Eriksen is the talisman of this Danish side, with his eight goals in qualifying propelling them to a second place finish in a qualifying campaign that included defeats against Poland and Montenegro.

They head into the play-offs in upbeat mood, after a fine 4-0 win against eventual Group E qualifiers Poland in September banished pessimism that dominated the first half of their efforts to claim top spot and automatic qualification.

"It means a lot for us to be seeded. We would rather avoid teams like Italy, Switzerland and Croatia, so it was important. It can make it easier for us, but it will be hard anyway," declares coach Hareide.

"The four teams play in four different ways. Perhaps Northern Ireland and Ireland are slightly the same, but Sweden and Greece each have their own style and we have to adapt to the team we get."

Aside from a Robert Lewandowski hat-trick in October 2016, Denmark's defensive line held firm for most of the qualifying push, with captain Simon Kjaer a key figure in their engine room.

Werder Bremen midfielder Thomas Delaney caught the eye with a hat-trick against Armenia and Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel will be a familiar last line of defence if he is lining up in Dublin next month.

VERDICT: Denmark are a team with momentum behind them after some recent good results and Eriksen could unsettle an Irish midfield lacking the suspended David Meyler for the play-off first leg, but they are not the most potent in their forward line.

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