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Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s Denmark to Once Again Show Knack for Big Tournament Football at EURO 2024

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Although he was in and out of the Tottenham starting eleven in 2023/24, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been named in Denmark’s EURO 2024 squad.

His style of play might not necessarily suit Ange Postecoglou’s front foot style at Spurs, but on the international stage, the midfielder is a key figure in Denmark’s consistent ability to perform at a level greater than the sum of their parts.

Winners of the EUROs in 1992, semi-finalists in 2020. The Danes have a habit of exceeding expectations at the European Championship.

So can they do it again in 2024?

Getting Started

The EUROs betting market for Group C reveals that Denmark are odds-on (3/10) to qualify for the Round of 16, behind England (1/80) but ahead of Serbia (4/9) and Slovenia (17/10).

The England EUROs odds of 3/1 to win the entire thing are indicative of their expected dominance of Group C, but the second-placed team also qualifies automatically for the knockout phase and, due to the quirky nature of the tournament, the best third-placed finishers also book a spot in the last 16.

Denmark have qualified for the EUROs eight different times over the years, going beyond the group phase in five of them – often exceeding expectations along the way.

In 2024, they will be favourites to beat Serbia and Slovenia – you suspect, privately, the Danes prefer being the underdogs, but they showed that they can handle the job of being expected to win during qualifying.

They were the best and highest-ranked side in their EUROs qualification group, making their advantage count with a W7 D1 L2 record. They took four points from two games against Slovenia, ironically, while also defeating the likes of Finland, Kazakhstan and Northern Ireland – not footballing heavyweights by any means, but Denmark still found a way to beat them.

Final Countdown

The Danes will be underdogs in the knockout phase, should they get there, but that’s when they’re at their most dangerous.

They beat Belgium and narrowly lost out on penalties to Spain in 1984, downed an outstanding Holland side and reigning world champions Germany in 1992, they finished above Italy in their 2004 group and, in their run to the EURO 2020 semi-finals, pushed England all the way to extra time.

So you write them off at your peril – particularly this current crop of players, who boast experience and quality in equal measure.

The spine of their team will be permed from players plying their club trade in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues. Kasper Schmeichel will need no introduction to English football fans, while the defence will be marshalled by Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle of AC Milan, Barcelona and Wolfsburg respectively.

Hojbjerg, Christian Eriksen and one of two Brentford players – Mathias Jensen and Christian Norgaard – will likely form the midfield, while in attack head coach Kasper Hjulmand has a variety of options. There are young talents, experienced campaigners like Yussuf Poulsen, the technical ability of Kasper Dolberg and the dynamism of Jonas Wind; he delivered 18 goal involvements in 31 Bundesliga games for Wolfsburg in the season just gone.

This Denmark squad certainly has the class to progress through Group C and, after that, who knows? They’ve shown many times before their ability to upset the applecart and cause a European Championship upset or two.

Image Source: unsplash.com

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