Denmark are possibly the ultimate enigma in European football, going from ridiculous to sublime and then back again, but for a lot of people their 1992 victory was one of the great footballing moments. Having failed to qualify for the tournament in Sweden, the Danes were given a berth just ten days before it began due to international sanctions against Yugoslavia, and the team of Peter Schmeichel and Brian Laudrup went on to win in a shock not equalled until Greece in 2004.
In qualification Denmark were drawn with, among others, Portugal and Norway, meaning there were both challenging and highly-charged games, but they eventually finished as group winners, something which will give them some confidence given their group. Drawn alongside Germany, Holland and Portugal in the competition proper, the Danes will at least be pleased to know they have come out on top over the team of Ronaldo and co, and may only need to draw with either Germany or Holland to go through if they can beat the Portuguese.
The men to watch for Denmark are young and this tournament could come a little early for them, but Christian Eriksen in particular has become one of the hottest properties in Europe for his performances with Ajax in the last couple of years. Liverpool’s Daniel Agger will partner Simon Kjaer in defence, the latter back on track after a difficult spell in Germany, and the pair have the potential to be world-class.
After going from 16th to 8th in Euro 2000 and 2004 respectively the improvement seemed to stall with a failure to qualify for 2008, which will have hurt the fans a lot. It is worth noting that teams like Denmark, who are not always given a great draw are more susceptible to missing out, especially when a 16-team tournament has two positions taken by hosts, but it was still a bitter blow. This time around it is pretty certain the Danes will be cast as whipping-boys in Group B, with both Germany and Holland to deal with.
In terms of outsiders for this cup Denmark are right there with the Republic of Ireland as 100/1 with VictorChandler, and for some of the best members of the squad this will be competition aimed at learning more than achievement. With qualification being so tough, if they do make it out of the group the Danes will be in great spirit and could trouble their quarter-final opponenets.