The Dark Horses of the World Cup - Unified Sports

The Dark Horses of the World Cup

Denmark go into this World Cup as dark horses that every team should fear and not take lightly. The team has been improving in the last decade and could finally challenge for titles now. They went on to the semi finals of the most recent Euros, losing out in a close game to England.

In this post, you’ll Read about
Denmark’s history at the World Cup and major competitions
Manager profile
Tactical analysis
Strengths
Weaknesses
World Cup Route
Players to look out for

Denmark’s history at the World Cup and major competitions

This will be Denmark’s 6th World Cup finals tournament qualification and their second consecutive one. The Danes bowed out in the Round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup in one of the most enthralling penalty shootouts ever to finalists Croatia. Their best ever finish was the quarterfinals at the 1998 World Cup. The nation also won the Euros in 1992, adding some sort of pedigree to their footballing success

Manager profile

Kasper Hjulmund has been the coach of Denmark since 2020 and has overseen great performances in a very short stint. His team reached the Euro semi finals even after the incident with Christian Eriksen during the tournament. The team showed promise in the nation’s league, finishing above world cup group mates France and one point behind toppers Croatia. To lose only 1 game and win 4 out of 6 in a group with world cup finalists is no easy task and is a testament to how strong Denmark have become under Hjulmund.

World Cup score

Tactical analysis

The Danish team usually plays in a 3-at-back system, with Mahele being one of their most important players on the left wing. Their midfielders, Hojberg and Delaney, play important roles in converting possession and playing progressive passes Christian Eriksen and Olsen play behind the striker, creating goal scoring opportunities for the man in front. Most of Denmark’s games see a balance in possession for both teams, with Denmark neither holding the ball for too long nor sitting back and soaking up pressure. They use a very balanced style of play that suits both the defense and attack.

Strengths

The Danish team has many strengths, one of which is its ability to have multiple goal scoring options. They have had 7 goal scorers among 9 goals in the recent nation’s league, all scoring from various parts of the pitch. The team has a very experienced midfield in Delaney, Hojberg, and Eriksen. One surprise miss from the 21-man squad who could be added later is Poulsen. Maehle is one of their most important players going forward and has also had the most assists for the team in recent tournaments. He was one of the best wingbacks at the Euros and will be an essential asset in attack and defense for the team. The team has true leaders in Schmeichel and Kjaer, who have captained club and country for years together. Kjaer being a rock in defense and Schmeichel being a wall behind him are all important blocks to their defense. Players like Christensen, Wess and Andersen all add to the solid back line. Schemeichel has excellent shot stopping and distribution skills but most importantly is excellent at saving penalties, which is very important for a tournament like the World Cup. Phillip Billing has also been in fine form for Bournemouth. Youngsters Daamsgaard and Olsen are important players to the Danish team.

Winning Cup

Weaknesses

The obvious weakness of the Danish team is their poor shot conversion rate of 13%. They create 2.3 big chances per game but fail to convert 1.5 of them. Their forwards need to be more clinical in front of the goal. They also take 11.8 shots per game, but only 4.8 of those are on target, indicating poor shooting from the front line. The team is also not very quick and needs to decide the tempo of the game according to their strengths. They can get caught out of possession very easily, with no pace to catch quicker opposition. Their passing accuracy in the opposing half could be better with their current rate of 72.5% in comparison to their overall passing success rate of 82.4%. As much as Mahele creates chances from the left, they need better options from the right and it is up to  Daniel Wass to do so, otherwise their attacking play will seem very one dimensional. The team also does not have the experience of winning big matches against big teams like other European nations do and that is probably why Denmark are looked at as dark horses and not the main contenders for the title.

World Cup Route

Denmark are lucky in a sense that they have a very similar group to that of the 2018 world cup with only Tunisia being the different team. They have also played France multiple times in the nation’s league and beaten them, making the world champions a familiar opponent and providing them with confidence to face them. Denmark should finish second in the group behind France and will probably go on till the round of 16 where they could face Argentina who would prove to be too good for them. But being dark horses means that they have the potential to beat all these teams and also advance to the finals.

World Cup cheering

Players to look out for

Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Joakim Maehle, Christian Eriksen, Pierre Emile Hojberg, Andreas Christensen, Kasper Dolberg, Joachim Andersen and Andreas Cornelius

Young players to look out for

Andreas Skov Olsen, Mikkel Damsgaard, Jonas Wind and Jesper Lindstrom

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