One team. Two games.
That’s what Denmark’s 2018 World Cup venture boils down to.
And the team blocking Denmark’s road to Russia is Ireland.
That’s the result of the draw for the playoffs held just moments ago in Zurich. The first game will take place in Copenhagen between November 9-11, with the return leg being played in Dublin three days later.
The result of the draw must be pleasing for Denmark coach Åge Hareide, who said last week that he would prefer to draw Northern Ireland or Ireland. A strong Sweden side and an unknown Greece were teams he wanted to avoid.
Presumably the Danes are hoping that the matches will go better for them than the last time they met the Irish, which resulted in a 0-4 hammering in a friendly in Aarhus in 2007.
While the Irish are probably pleased about missing out on Italy and Croatia, the same can’t be said for the Swedes and the Greeks. Sweden faces Italy, while the Greeks take on Croatia. In the final match-up, the Swiss drew Northern Ireland.
Thor with Redskins
Andreas ‘Thor’ Knappe is tantalisingly close to being the first Dane since Morten Andersen to play in the NFL. The Danish giant has been snapped up by the Washington Redskins and added to the team’s practice squad following a successful trial. Knappe, however, will still need to make the active roster before having the chance to play in a game. But a giant foot in the door at least.
Once considered Denmark’s best boxing hope apart from Mikkel Kessler, Patrick Nielsen now has a career that looks on the brink of being finished. Nielsen was dominated and knocked out in the fifth round at Wembley Stadium by British fighter John Ryder. Nielsen now has two losses in 30 bouts and his promoter, Nisse Sauerland, said that he won’t continue working with Nielsen unless he gets his act together.
It’s been a good month for Danish NHL player Nicolaj Ehlers. First the young gun signed a million-kroner contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets and then he went out and scored five goals and notched two assists over the past week, including the game winner against the Carolina Hurricanes. The 21-year-old’s performance was good enough for the NHL to vote him First Star of the Week (the league’s equivalent of player of the week).
You may not have heard of Pål Kirkevold before now, and that’s understandable considering the Norwegian plays his football in tiny startup Hobro. But actually, Kirkevold has just set a new Superliga record that will likely stand for quite some time. The striker’s goal against Horsens over the weekend means he has scored in nine consecutive Superliga games in a row, enough to break a three-way deadlock with legends Ebbe Sand and Peter Møller.