Just take a look at a short, partial list of players gracing the Denmark Football Hall of Fame (among others): Allan Simonsen, Frank Arnesen, Preben Eikjaer Larsen, Soren Lerby, Michal Laudrup, Brian Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel, Morton Olsen and coaches Sepp Piontek and Richard Moller Nielsen. The list goes on and on and such is the quality, that players such as Jesper Olsen, Jesper Gronkjar and Jan Molby are not in it.
Denmark has always produced great players, who won everything there is to be won on a European-team basis. Throughout the years, Danish players could have been found in all of the continent's major leading teams. That wasn't the case with the national team. Just once, during a shiny span of few years the greatness of Danish football came into effect and glory. And when it did, it was almost magical.
Amazingly enough, Denmark national team didn’t enter the qualification round of World Cup tournaments until 1958. First, it was a matter of lack of financial resources, where the Danish Football Association had to set priorities on the tournaments it could afford to send the team into, and then a matter of allowing only amateur players to compete for the national team. That rule was changed in the beginning of the 70's, Danish players turned full professionals only in 1978 and Denmark first qualified for a World Cup tournament 1986, where it was led by two of the all-time greats – Michael Laudrup and Preben Eikjaer. They didn't care much about anything other than attack, and, as their supporters sang: "They were red, they were white, they were Danish Dynamite".
By that time, most of the Danes better players were playing outside the country and professionalism set in. That side, even without winning a major tournament, was mentioned as equal to Holland of the 70's and Brazil of 1982 – the greatest teams ever that couldn't bring home the trophy. That's how good Denmark was. The only thing the players had to get rid of was the Danish mentality, that was – how would we say it – don't worry, be happy, take everything easy, absolutely no need to have discipline (on and off the field) and it's as important to have a beer in a pub as scoring goals.
Prior to Mexico 86, Denmark has announced its arrival in Euro 84. The team lost the opening match to France 0-1 and then hammered Yugoslavia 5-0 before winning 3-2 against Belgium. Off to the semi-finals they went, where, after a 1-1 tie in extra time, Denmark lost to Spain in penalties, when Eikjaer, of all people, kicked the ball high.
Two years later, Denmark was placed in the Group of Death with west Germany, Uruguay and Scotland. The theme was attack and then attack some more. They began with a 1-0 over Scotland before trouncing Uruguay 6-1. The last game was meaningless, but Denmark went all out, beating West Germany 2-0 and in the process lost their playmaker Arnesen who was sent off after a rough tackle. Spain was waiting in the round of 16 and it ended with a 1-5 loss.
Denmark didn't qualify for Euro 92 but was put back in because of sanctions that were laid on war-laden Yugoslavia. Michael Laudrup had quit the team prior to the tournament, because he felt that new coach Nielsen was playing a more than needed defensive system. It was left up to his brother Brian to be the creative force in midfield, while the defense relayed on goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. Denmark draw 0-0 with England and lost 0-1 to host Sweden. They needed a win in the last game, and delivered a 2-1 over France. After a 2-2 draw with Netherlands in the semi-finals (two Henrik Larsen goals) and won on penalty kicks, Denmark surprised Germany 2-0 in the final to collect their greatest ever achievement.
Denmark most caped player is Schmeichel with 129 appearances between 1987-2001. Top goal scorer is Jon Dahl Tomasson with 52 goals scored in 112 matches.
The national team plays its home games in 38,050 seat Parken stadium in Copenhagen.
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