Euro 2024 team guides part nine: Denmark

Estimated read time 6 min read

This article is part of the Guardian’s Euro 2024 Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 24 countries who qualified. is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 14 June.


Denmark won their qualifying group ahead of Slovenia and Finland and on paper it looked like a straightforward progression to the tournament, with some impressive home wins at the always sold-out Parken. However, behind the results lurks the feeling that the team have not managed to shake off the difficulties they experienced in Qatar, when they were eliminated in the group stage.

Other results were distinctly average, including a 3-2 defeat against Kazakhstan in the second game despite being 2-0 up until the 73rd minute. Northern Ireland at home ended in a 1-0 win that nearly finished 1-1 but the visitors’ goal was ruled out after a lengthy VAR review. There was a 1-1 draw against Slovenia and a narrow 2-1 win in San Marino. “The quality of our play was simply not good enough,” the coach, Kasper Hjulmand, said after that win.

Hjulmand, to be fair, has tried many different things to get the team back to the level they had during Euro 2020, when they reached the semi-finals. He has experimented with formations and used more than 30 players during qualification, although the latter was perhaps more a reflection of the problems he has had with injuries and his squad members’ lack of playing time at clubs.

The coach values the players’ relationships on the pitch and how they play together more than individual quality. However, important players such as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Christian Eriksen have been more on the bench than playing recently while defenders Simon Kjær and Andreas Christensen have been injured. That could well be an issue for the Euros.

There is some good news, though, with a lot of potential in a young and vibrant attack. Rasmus Højlund, who scored seven goals in qualification, and Jonas Wind were the best players on the road to Germany and the team will have the last 16 as a minimum aim. That seems eminently achievable.

The coach

A modern man with a philosophical approach to football, Kasper Hjulmand has managed to unite Danishfans and made them the backbone of this team. Communication is key for the 52-year-old who has been widely praised for his humanity and leadership skills. The past couple of years have not been straightforward and lately there has been criticism over Denmark’s playing style. The coach was phlegmatic, though, saying: “It is great that there are different opinions and discussions around the national team. Just imagine if everyone was agreeing – that would be incredibly dull.” The Danish FA still believes in him and he recently signed a contract until the 2026 World Cup.

The icon

Christian Eriksen has not had the best of seasons at Manchester United, spending most of it on the substitutes’ bench, but he does not seem too concerned. “The beauty of football is that you are not better than your last game,” he says, and, to be fair, the 32-year-old has had his fair share of great games, especially for Denmark. He stands at 128 appearances and 40 goals at the time of writing and is still at the heart of Denmark’s attack. He is yet to have a truly outstanding international tournament with memories of his cardiac arrest at the last Euros still fresh. Three years on he is back and hoping to make the difference for his country.

Christian Eriksen surges away from Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka during their friendly in March.View image in fullscreen

One to watch

Victor Kristiansen – or “VK” as he is known – has become the left-footed left-back the team has been looking for. Impressively energetic, he is not afraid to join in the attack but is not someone who takes his defensive duties easily either. Having spent the season on loan at Bologna from Leicester, he helped the Serie A side qualify for the Champions League. He won his first cap in the summer of 2023 so this will be his first international tournament. He is not aiming for a place on the bench, let’s put it like that.

The maverick

There is not a lot of unpredictability in this squad. They are more of a low-key, professional team than a selection of big, loud individuals. However, one player who stands out is Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. He won’t have a fight or make any outrageous comments but he is not afraid of saying – or showing – what he thinks. He wears his heart on his sleeve and has cried live on TV, as well as demanded a better attitude from his teammates. Straight-talking.

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The spine

Kasper Schmeichel is still the undisputed No 1 – he has gone past 100 caps – and has an excellent and developed understanding with the two of the central defenders, Simon Kjær (fitness permitting) and Andreas Christensen, in front of him. In midfield balance and creativity is provided by Højbjerg and Eriksen while up front Rasmus Højlund has quickly become the go-to-guy for goals.

Probable starting XI

Denmark predicted lineupView image in fullscreen

Celebrity fan

For Emily in Paris read Lily Collins in Copenhagen as the American-English actor who stars in the Netflix series is a resident of the Danish capital and loves watching football there. Her Instagram reel shows her embracing the local “roligan” way of being a fan and cheering on the red-and-whites during the Euro qualifying campaign. She has frequently been spotted with her husband in matching national team jerseys and a trip to Parken is not unfamiliar for them.

Culinary delight

There is one thing you need to try in a stadium. The stadionplatte has become synonymous with football in Denmark. It consists of a large grilled sausage, usually a frankfurter with crunchy skin, and is accompanied with one to two pieces of bread with ketchup, mustard, and a delightful remoulade on the side. No stadionplatte is complete without a beer. The sausages are so popular that several media outlets have made rankings of the clubs with the best stadionplatte.

The Denmark team guide was written by Sofie Engberg Munch for TV 2 Denmark


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