The Danish football under-21 national team were handed a good draw for the 2017 European Championships in Poland after being grouped with Romania, Wales, Armenia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg.
Being a top seed, thanks to solid performances over the past year, meant that the Danes avoided the big European teams like Italy, Spain, England and Germany.
”It could have been worse than Romania,” Jess Thorup, the under-21 coach, told football website bold.dk. ”We could have drawn Belgium, Russia or Switzerland, so the Romanians are okay.”
”I first look to the coefficient point rankings, but I must admit that I don't know any of the nations in depth yet. The special thing about youth football is that suddenly a good age group of players can come along.”
Hopes of postponement
Perhaps the only downside to the draw is Bulgaria, which was perhaps the toughest fifth-seeded team of the draw. With some more luck, the Danes could have drawn Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia or Azerbaijan instead.
The qualification stage kicks off already in March, but Thorup hopes he can get Denmark's first games postponed until the autumn in order to focus on preparing for Euro 2015 in the Czech Republic this summer.
From 2017, the under-21 Euros will be expanded from 8 to 12 teams, which means that all nine group winners will automatically qualify, while the four best second-placed teams will take part in a play-off for the final two spots. Poland has already qualified as host.