European U21 Championships 2015: Denmark Team Guide

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 9, 2015

European U21 Championships 2015: Denmark Team Guide

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    POULSEN LARS/Associated Press

    The European U21 Championship kicks off on June 17 in Prague, giving us football fans a welcome reprieve from tedious summer transfer links and a lack of competitive domestic football.

    This exciting tournament is where some of tomorrow's stars announce themselves, and the squads selected for it ooze class and quality. In 2013, Thiago Alcantara, Isco, Asier Illarramendi and more all shone as Spain decimated the opposition, but who will catch the eye this year?

    We're previewing each of the eight nations competing right here at B/R, and we're continuing the series with Denmark.

    Link to the series:

    Czech Republic

    All statistics, fixture details and results via UEFA.com unless noted otherwise.

    With thanks to Gustav Tornby (@gustav_tornby) for assistance and expertise during research.

Road to the Finals

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Denmark went unbeaten in the qualification process for the 2015 U21 European Championship, with goals raining down upon their opponents. Their final three-game home stretch saw them defeat Estonia, Russia and Bulgaria by an aggregate score of 19-3.

    Results

    Estonia 0-1 Denmark

    Denmark 6-0 Andorra

    Slovenia 2-2 Denmark

    Denmark 2-2 Slovenia

    Russia 0-3 Denmark

    Bulgaria 2-3 Denmark

    Andorra 0-2 Denmark

    Denmark 8-0 Estonia

    Denmark 4-2 Russia

    Denmark 7-1 Bulgaria

    Denmark topped Group 2 and became a seeded nation for the play-off for the final tournament, drawing rock-solid Iceland. They drew 0-0 at home but triumphed on away goals thanks to a 1-1 tie in Reykjavik.

    Nicolaj Thomsen scored the crucial goal in the 90th minute.

Squad

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    The UEFA European U21 Championship's official Twitter account relayed the Danish Football Association's confirmation of the selection on June 1. Jores Okore (Aston Villa) was originally called up, but the club blocked it, so Patrick Banggaard (FC Midtjylland) replaces him, per DBU (link in Danish). 

    Here is the squad:

    Goalkeepers: Jakob Busk (Sandefjord), David Jensen (FC Nordsjaelland), Frederik Ronnow (AC Horsens)

    Defenders: Alexander Scholz (Standard Liege), Christoffer Remmer (FC Copenhagen), Jannik Vestergaard (Werder Bremen), Patrick Banggaard (FC Midtjylland), Frederik Sorensen (Hellas Verona), Jonas Knudsen, LB (Esbjerg fB), Riza Durmisi (Brondby)

    Midfielders: Jens Jonsson (AGF), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich), Lasse Vigen Christensen (Fulham), Christian Norgaard (Brondby IF), Nicolaj Thomsen (AaB), Uffe Bech (FC Nordsjaelland), Pione Sisto (FC Midtjylland), Rasmus Falk, (Odense Boldklub), Viktor Fischer (Ajax), Lucas Andersen (Ajax)

    Forwards: Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig), Emil Berggreen (Eintracht Braunschweig), Nicolai Brock-Madsen (Randers FC)

Manager Profile: Jess Thorup

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    Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

    Jess Thorup's Denmark enter the competition as a low-key threat. Most on the continent will dismiss them as rank outsiders, but the truth is they have a very strong side and the Danes know it.

    It means Thorup will be under pressure to perform. The former Esbjerg manager, who took on the mantle of U21 gaffer in 2013, was the DBU's first choice for this role, believing him to be the man who could extract the best out of an extremely talented bunch of youngsters.

    He's got Andreas Christensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Pione Sisto, Viktor Fischer, Yussuf Poulsen...the list of quality players stretches on.

Star Man: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

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    Jens Dresling/Associated Press

    The Danes aren't short of stars and stand an underrated, dark-horse pick to win the tournament. Any side hoping to win it all needs a veritable star, and they have one in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

    The midfielder, loaned to Augsburg from Bayern Munich this past season, finished the campaign on a high note by thundering home a wicked right-footed effort from distance, reaffirming himself as a true threat from outside the box and reminding his parent club of his talents.

    He's a dynamo in the centre, capable of playing box-to-box or a little further forward, and will make things happen. He's classy, has a great touch and scores rockets whenever he's given the space.

One to Watch: Pione Sisto

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    GUNVALD SEBASTIAN BUUR/Associated Press

    Without a doubt, the man to watch here is Pione Sisto. Denmark have the returning Viktor Fischer as another enticing prospect, but the level of intrigue surrounding Sisto continues to soar higher and higher.

    Playing for Matthew Benham's FC Midtjylland, he's been the star player in a league-winning campaign for the western club. He picked up an injury during spring but returned against FC Copenhagen in May, turning in a one-goal, one-assist performance despite only playing 25 minutes.

    Sisto offers a direct dribbling and goal threat few other Danes do. Having just received his FIFA approval to play for the Denmark senior side (he's from South Sudan), local eyes will be watching carefully to see if he truly is a prospect who can take their nation to the next level.

European U21 Championship Record

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Denmark have never won the European U21 Championship despite participating in 19 editions. The furthest they've got is the semi-finals, once, in 1992, where they fell to Italy over two legs.

    They've hit the quarter-finals twice, but mostly their qualification processes have been dire and unsuccessful. With the talent at their disposal, 2015 is the year in which they should improve this record.

    Team Record at the Euro U21 Championship

    Wins: 0

    Runners-up: 0 

    Semi-finals: 1

    Quarter-finals: 2

    Group-stage finishes: 2

    Failed to qualify: 14

Group Fixtures

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Match 1: Czech Republic vs. Denmark

    Venue: Stadion Eden, Prague

    Date: June 17, 2015

    Time: 6 p.m. BST

    Match 2: Germany vs. Denmark

    Venue: Stadion Eden, Prague 

    Date: June 20, 2015

    Time: 8:45 p.m. BST

    Match 3: Denmark vs. Serbia

    Venue: Stadion Letna, Prague

    Date: June 23, 2015

    Time: 8:45 p.m. BST

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