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Denmark: Dark Horses for EURO2024 or a mixed bag of nothing

The Euro2020 semi-finalists are dreaming of another tournament run, but can they manage it?

Euro2020 semi-finalists Denmark are facing a challenge to make it to the same tournament four years on as they sit in a tight group, but they will be expecting another strong showing should they make the finals.

A disappointing World Cup in Qatar saw them fail to make it out of a group stage that included eventual finalists France but also minnows Australia and Tunisia, who they took just one point from in their two games.

It was just their second even group-stage exit (in six tries) and that indifferent form has continued into their European qualifying.

Currently 2nd in their group after five games, they sit level on points with first-placed Slovenia but minnows Kazakhstan and Finland are just a point behind in what is the tightest group of the ten.

They have lost just once (away to 10 man Kazakhstan) but that combined with a draw to Slovenia has made the group far tighter than was initially anticipated, and put additional pressure on the Danes.

It remains a squad littered with familiar faces; Pierre Emile Hojbjerg, Christian Eriksen, Matias Jensen and Joachim Andersen all ply their trade in the Premier League, where stalwarts Kacsper Schmeichel and Andreas Christensen have also played in the past.

Can Hojlund come good?

In many ways Norway’s trump card, new Manchester United striker Rasmus Hojlund is the man that the Danes finally hope will answer their goalscoring woes.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a strong start to his national team career, and has found the net six times already in just seven outings, with fans hoping that this is just the start of a glittering international campaign.

Flanked by young pair Jonas Wind and Andreas Skov Olsen in Kasper Hjulmand’s 3-4-2-1 system, the trio offer a formidable yet largely untested attacking force, and this tournament may come a little too early for them.

By 2026, however, they will be without the services of a host of veterans, with the likes of Eriksen (who will be 34 years old), Schmeichel (39), Hojbjerg (31), Braithwaite (35) and Thomas Delaney (34) all likely to be contemplating retirement or well into it.

The Danes will be hoping that their youngsters can step up when needed, then, and like his rival across Manchester, Hojlund carries the weight of a nation on his young shoulders.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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