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World Cup: Denmark the pick of the Outright contenders

When it comes to dark horses for the World Cup in Qatar, Denmark can certainly count themselves in the group of potential outsiders.

The Danes showed their quality at the European Championships last summer on their way to the semi-finals and, with that experience under their belts, they will be determined to go far in Qatar this winter.

What: Denmark v Tunisia

Where: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

When: 13:00 Tuesday 22nd November

How to watch: ITV1

Odds: Denmark 8/15, Draw 3/1, Tunisia 11/2

A summer to remember

Having been winners of the European Championships back in 1992, Denmark do have pedigree in major competitions. However, it had been some years since they'd caused a stir at a tournament before Euro 2020.

It’s fair to say the Danes had to grow into the competition after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Finland in their opening game, before losing 2-1 to Belgium in their second outing.

A 4-1 win over Russia at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen brought the Danes back from the brink and saw them edge their way above Finland into second place in Group B.

That comprehensive win over the Russians clearly sparked something in Kasper Hjulmand’s side, as they went on to beat Wales 4-0 in the last 16.

On to the quarter-finals and the Danes edged out the Czech Republic in Baku before clashing with eventual runners-up England in the semi-finals.

It was a thrilling contest in front of just under 70,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium, but it was Gareth Southgate’s England who managed to come out on top 2-1 after extra-time.

A heartbreaking end to the tournament for Denmark but an experience that should give them confidence to go far in Qatar. The Danes to actually go all the way and lift the trophy this winter is available at 28/1.

Denmark won’t fear France

Drawn in the same group as Australia, Tunisia and reigning world champions France, Denmark are 1/3 to qualifying from Group D.

While many will be expecting France to finish top of the group, head coach Hjulmand and his Denmark squad will have different ideas.

The Danes played alongside the French in their Nations League group this year and secured wins both home and away against Didier Deschamps' side.

It makes for an intriguing clash when the two sides go head-to-head at Stadium 974 in Doha on 26th November.

Denmark are 3/1 to claim the three points, with the draw at 11/5 and a French victory at 1/1.

With five wins in their last seven games in all competitions heading into the tournament, Denmark should certainly have the confidence of causing an upset against one of the World Cup favourites.

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The whole is greater

When it comes to the Denmark squad, it’s not one littered with individual stars known the world over. Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen remains their biggest name and the playmaker will have a key role to play over the next month.

What Denmark does have is a squad of players playing in many of the top leagues across Europe, with seven from the Premier League, six from the Bundesliga, four in La Liga and two from Serie A.

The squad is also blessed with plenty of experience, with 11 of the 26 having been capped over 40 times for their country. That is likely to prove valuable as the Danes at least look to get out of their group.

Denmark’s main strength is how the squad has bought into what Hjulmand has done with the national side and how the team works as a unit.

Expect Denmark to be organised and tough to break down, while the likes of Eriksen and rising star Mikkel Damsgaard will be looking to create opportunities and score goals further up the field.

Duo looking to finish on a high

This World Cup looks like it could well be the last for two veterans of the squad in the form of skipper Simon Kjaer and keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Kjaer, who has 121 caps for this country going into the World Cup, is 33 years old and the defender is unlikely to make it to the next tournament in 2026.

Schmeichel is 36 and being a goalkeeper does have a better chance to reach the next World Cup, that’s if he decides to play on and has not been overtaken as Denmark’s first choice between the sticks.

The pair have been great servants to Danish football and both players will be eager to finish their potential World Cup careers on a high in Qatar.

Other dark horses could contend

Denmark find themselves in a pool of teams that will be looking to challenge pre-tournament favourites Brazil and Argentina for the title.

Fellow European nations Netherlands at 12/1 and Portugal at 14/1 have hopes of lifting the trophy in Qatar.

The Dutch have been in strong form leading into the tournament, while the Portuguese will be hoping Cristiano Ronaldo can lead them to glory in what could well be the Manchester United forward’s final World Cup.

Further out at 40/1 are Uruguay, who could raise a few eyebrows in the Middle East with a formidable attack that includes Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Not much has been mentioned about Croatia but they are a side that sprang a surprise four years ago to reach the final in Russia. The silver medalists from 2018 are available at 50/1 to go one better and lift the trophy next month.

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