Denmark’s football fortunes in the UEFA Nations League will be decided over the next few days as Aage Hareide’s lads take on Wales and the Republic of Ireland in the space of three days.
The Danes will have their backs to the wall in Cardiff on Friday night, needing to avoid a loss to still have a chance to win Group 4. Then the Irish subsequently need to be defeated on Monday evening in Aalborg for Denmark to secure first place in the group.
The Danes will be without inspirational captain Simon Kjær in the back line, but Hareide can thank his lucky stars to have midfield talisman Christian Eriksen back in the fold following an injury stint on the sidelines.
“It’s good for him and the national team that he hasn’t played much. He’s returned to camp with fresh legs. Tottenham have been cautious with him after his injury and that’s wise since they are in the midst of a very tough schedule,” Hareide told sn.dk.
Wales have troubles of their own as Real Madrid star Gareth Bale could miss the game due to an ankle injury sustained over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Irish are keen to avenge the 5-1 pumping they endured at the hands of the Danes in Dublin last year in the critical second leg of the 2018 World Cup playoffs. Striker Shane Long is out for Ireland, but captain Seamus Coleman is back, having missed the Dublin beating after breaking his leg.
“It was a tough night, that one, at the end of last year, and we need to go there and put it right. But when our backs are on the ropes sometimes, that’s when we’re at our best,” Coleman told the Independent.
Both matches kick off at 20:45 and will be broadcast on Kanal 5.
Handball legend keen on EU post
Danish handball legend Katrine Fruelund, 40, has announced that she intends to run in the 2019 EU Parliament elections on behalf of the Venstre party. Fruelund, who won Olympic gold medals with the Danish women’s team in 2000 and 2004, as well as at the 2002 Euros, has been a city hall board member in Randers since 2013. She will look to be formally voted in as a candidate on December 5.
FIFA inquest into FCN-Man City link
The world football governing body FIFA has revealed it will investigate a contentious agreement between Danish club FC Nordsjælland and Premier League giants Manchester City. FIFA will investigate a link established in 2016 that allows City to sign African players from FCN for free via the Right to Dream academy in Ghana. City reportedly pays an annual donation to the academy for the rights.
Copenhagen Formula 1 dream dashed
The ambitious plan to bring Formula 1 to Copenhagen in 2020 has been quashed after the motor racing organisation conveyed that the prestigious race only had plans to set up shop in Hanoi. The news isn’t that surprising, considering that City Hall voted in September to deny the race entry to the capital’s streets. Despite the blow, there is still a group of wealthy businessmen who want to make another try of it sometime in the future.
Lions cornered and desperate
FC Copenhagen’s jaunt into Europe this year could be over by Christmas thanks to a dour 0-0 draw away to Czech side Slavia Prague in the Europa League last week. The Lions will likely need to get a result of some sort away at leaders Zenit St Petersburg and a win at home against Bordeaux in the final match to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stage. Even if that happens, they will still need other results to go their way.
US investors close in on Helsingør
The Danish second-tier side FC Helsingør could very well be in foreign hands in the near future as it has emerged that a group of US investors are interesting in acquiring the club. The negotiations are apparently ongoing and expected to last some days or weeks as the deal would have to be approved by the boards of both parties. The potential consortium is reportedly being led by Jordan Gardner, the co-owner of Irish side Dundalk FC. The investors are allegedly interested in FC Helsingør because of its blossoming youth department, new stadium on the horizon and proximity to Copenhagen.
Danes want Chinese cheaters punished
The Danish badminton association has demanded a swift punishment of four Chinese players suspected of match-fixing during a quarter-final doubles match at the Fuzhou China Open last week. He Jiting and Ta Qiang defeated Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in three sets, but several Danish players watching the match immediately went to the tournament organisers to lodge a complaint. One of the Danish players, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, compared the match with the badminton scandal that rocked the 2012 Olympics in London, in which eight players were kicked out for deliberately trying to lose.
Astralis aiming for the stars
The Danish eSports side Astralis was named the team of the year at the Esport Awards in London this week. The team won the IEM Chicago title on Sunday, their seventh triumph of the year so far. The Danes are ranked at the top of the world rankings for the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive category, well ahead of the competition. Another title could see them become the first Counter-Strike winners of the Intel Grand Slam title, which is given to a team that has won four of the ten ESL or Dreamhack titles in one season – a title that comes with a 6.5 million kroner bonus.
Danish batsmen taking Muscat mauling
The Danish men’s cricket side are have a rough go of things in the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament, which is currently being held in Oman. The Danes have yet to win a game, losing to the likes of Uganda, Singapore and Oman. The tournament is part of the qualification process for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, and the Danes still need to face the US and Kenya. The top two teams will be promoted to the Division Two tournament, while the rest will play in the 2019–21 ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League.
Andersen in the spotlight
The under-21 footballer Joachim Andersen looks to be the latest Danish player to make waves in Europe after a strong start to the season with Serie A side Sampdoria. The 22-year-old defender recently signed a new contract with the ‘The Blue-Hooped’ (see below) and his price tag of around 30 million pounds has not fazed potential suitors, with the likes of Juventus, Inter and Arsenal reportedly interested. Andersen joined Dutch side Twente from FC Midtjylland when he was just 17, before signing for the Italian club last year.