Who doesn’t love Denmark, especially after they have repeatedly performed miracles and taught us all a lesson? When they have warmed all our hearts. His success is a human triumph, having overcome adversity, after the collapse of Christian Eriksen and after zero points in his first two games. His fairy tale continues, but not by chance, but by reaping the fruits of a job well done.
The 4-1 win against the Russians in their final group match in the Danish capital was therapeutic for the country and sparked a shift in momentum that has propelled the team to a Wembley semi-final against England.
The Danish dynamites seem locked in and are on their way to recreate the magical memories of Euro 1992. But the English, who have not left a single goal beyond their solid defense, stand in their way. However, in a variety of settings and against completely different opponents, Denmark has always competed and been highly recognizable.
– DBU – En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) July 3, 2021
All the fans will wonder if they can beat England. The answer is to adhere to Kasper Hjulmand’s battle plan.
BRING THE POWER ATTACK TO WEMBLEY
I do not want to suggest that Denmark has defended its way up to this point; quite the contrary. Denmark’s offensive brilliance at Euro 2020 has mesmerized the football world. And despite an apparent defensive shift, Denmark’s offense has remained prolific, scoring 10 goals in its last three outings, and all the credit goes to its attackers. With a Danish record, 11 goals in this Euro, Denmark is only behind Spain’s 12.
11 – Only Spain (12) have scored more goals than Denmark in # EURO2020, with this now the best return of the Danes in a single edition in a European Championship / World Cup. Legs. #CZEDEN https://t.co/MlpQpdidZL
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 3, 2021
They like to dominate, to take the initiative. Even with your right feet to the left, which might seem unnatural, there are always options to pass. Players occupying amplitude and generating spaces inside, and with great coordination in their movements. Some ask for the ball at their feet, others run behind. They can take on teams that push high or sit deep.
Hjulmand’s attacking trio is cohesive, with Kasper Dolberg, Martin Braithwaite and Eriksen’s replacement, Mikkel Damsgaard, all finding the back of the net. Then there’s Joakim Maehle, whose passing, rough first touches, aggression and verticality have proven crucial for his country.
“Det er så sindssygt lavet det der!”
– DBU – En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) July 5, 2021
The Danes will have a hard time getting past the Three Lions’ defensive line against England. But if their forwards and wings bring the offensive prowess they have shown in the tournament, there will be no brakes.
Kasper Hjulmand has infused his team with his genius, which has done wonders for the Danes. His initial game plan and philosophy are already excellent and aesthetically pleasing, but it is his flexibility and intelligence to adapt to any given scenario that has really stood out.
If Italy allows it, they were the best team in the tournament. Perhaps not in terms of talent, but the ability to impose his plan no matter what the conditions. This was proven against Wales in particular. Denmark struggled in the first 10 minutes, but Kasper Hjulmand was very smart to go from the usual 3-4-3 to a 4-3-3 with Andreas Christensen at center.
Wales lost all references to defend. All the structures changed and this gave Denmark more time and space to build. With Wales completely confused, the Danish progressions were more at ease. In the second half, Hjulmand switched back to a back 3 and killed his opponents with free wings.
– DBU – En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) June 26, 2021
When it comes to reacting to his rival’s tactical changes, Hjulmand has solutions for everything. It never catches you off guard. His substitutions never work, but they improve the situation, and by moving Andreas Christensen from rear 3 to midfield, among others, he is showing endless variations. Even with a clear identity, Denmark embodies the term tactical flexibility, and that would be key against England, who are themselves extremely tactically versatile.
THE DANISH DEFENSIVE CRY
Denmark will have to bring that defensive tenacity, which they have shown throughout the tournament, to Wembley, to keep the English attackers and their dynamic wingers at bay.
Although England have yet to give up a goal, the fact that Kasper Schmeichel has fewer saves than Jordan Pickford shows the strength of Hjulmand’s squad. And that’s because they have a very complete defensive line. Simon Kjaer as a defensive backbone, complemented by the impressive distribution of the ball by Andreas Christensen and Jannik Vestergaard, has been the foundation of Denmark’s success.
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) June 30, 2021
They have shown their offensive brilliance. But if the opponents take control of the ball, they defend well and make the transition even better. Their three centers have all the conditions to be superlative defenders, but they are also incredibly skilled with the ball and are vital in the preparations. The whole team moves like an accordion, compressing and expanding in perfect harmony. The Danish defensive line, fierce in defense and fluid in attack, will be essential for them.
It will be a clash of two opposing forces, with Denmark’s near-perfect collective approach and England’s near-perfect mix of individualities.