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Welcome to Yahoo Sports’ team-by-team 2018 World Cup previews. With less than a month to go until this summer’s tournament, it’s time to get familiar with each of the 32 teams participating in Russia. Next up in Group C is Denmark.
For more analysis, lineup projections and predictions, head to our World Cup preview hub, bookmark it, and dig in to all 32 team previews, eight group previews, power rankings, features and so much more.
Our writers say: The Danish have not been so dynamite of late, missing two of the last three World Cups and two of the last three Euros. This entirely Christian Eriksen-centric team won’t set the world alight either. But its 5-1 destruction of Ireland in the qualifying playoffs demonstrates an ability to outperform its talent on the day. And a weak group improves Denmark’s chances of advancing – and likely crashing out in the Round of 16. — Leander Schaerlaeckens
(Odds via BetOnline, converted to percentages – and therefore slightly exaggerated)
World Cup appearance: 5th
Best World Cup finish: Quarterfinals (1998)
2014 finish: Did not qualify
Qualifying: Finished 2nd behind Poland in UEFA Group E, won playoff against Ireland
Schedule: Peru (Saturday, June 16, Noon, FS1), Australia (Thursday, June 21, 11 a.m., Fox), France (Tuesday, June 26, 10 a.m., Fox/FS1)
Manager: Age Hareide
Captain: Simon Kjaer (D)
Top players: Christian Eriksen (M), Kjaer, Pione Sisto (M), Thomas Delaney (M), Andreas Christensen (D)
Full 23-man squad
Why they’ll win games: Eriksen is world-class, and is right at home at the heart of Denmark’s attack. Whether it’s from dead balls or open play, he is a constant threat. And the central defensive triangle – Kjaer, Christensen and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is really strong.
Why they’ll lose games: Striker is a problem position. There’s no other glaring weakness, but the squad beyond Eriksen is rather ordinary. And as promising as Christensen is, the only reason he’s starting is that Andreas Bjelland, Kjaer’s normal partner, had to pull out of the squad due to injury.
How they’ll play: They can play some stylish soccer. But the better the opponent, the more reliant they become on Eriksen and long balls. Rather than search for the Tottenham’s star’s feet, they’ll play direct to nominal right winger Yussuf Poulson or striker Nicolai Jorgensen. Eriksen and Sisto, the left winger, will pick up second balls and create from there.
Projected lineup (4-2-3-1): Kasper Schmeichel; Jens Stryger Larsen, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Henrik Dalsgaard; William Kvist, Thomas Delaney; Yussuf Poulson, Christian Eriksen, Pione Sisto; Nicolai Jorgensen.
The injury to Bjelland more or less answered all of Hareide’s questions for him. That (above) will, in all likelihood, be the 11 against Peru.
What makes them unique: Uh … not much?
Why to root for them: Eriksen. Eriksen. And Eriksen.
Why to root against them: See two sections above.
If you’re going to watch one game … Watch the opener against Peru, because it’s the most important game of the group. If there’s a winner, it’ll probably decide the group.
Group A: Russia | Saudi Arabia | Egypt | Uruguay
Group B: Portugal | Spain | Morocco | Iran
Group C: France | Australia | Peru | Denmark
Group D: Argentina | Iceland | Croatia | Nigeria
Group E: Brazil | Switzerland | Costa Rica | Serbia
Group F: Germany | Mexico | Sweden | South Korea
Group G: Belgium | Panama | Tunisia | England
Group H: Poland | Senegal | Colombia | Japan
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More World Cup coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• 2018 World Cup preview hub
• Ranking the top 100 players at the World Cup
• FC Yahoo Mixer: The Ronaldo vs. Messi debate
• A tactical guide to the 2018 World Cup
• How Vladimir Putin can use the World Cup to his benefit