Sports News in Brief: Denmark seeded second for Euro 2020 draw
The Danish national team has been on a good run as of late. There’s no denying it.
Ignoring the 0-3 loss to Slovakia in September by a Danish team made up of amateurs during the DBU dispute and the agonising penalty-shootout loss to Croatia at the World Cup, Denmark hasn’t lost a game since a home loss to Montenegro in October 2016.
And with the Euro 2020 qualification draw lingering just around the corner on December 2, the strong play has led to the Danes being put in the second seeding group along with the likes of Germany, Sweden, Russia and Iceland.
The Danes thus can’t be drawn with the Germans, but will face tough prospective opponents from the top seeding group, which includes England, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy.
The third and fourth seeding groups contain some difficult opponents too,. A potential nightmare draw for the Danes could end up looking like Spain, Denmark, Serbia, Montenegro, Armenia and Latvia.
A more attractive draw, in terms of qualifying at least, could look like Poland, Denmark, Israel, Estonia, Gibraltar and San Marino. A total of 20 teams progress from the 10 qualification groups, while another four will be found via the Nations League playoffs – which Denmark qualified for by winning its group over Wales (which it beat last Friday 2-1 in Cardiff) and the Republic of Ireland (0-0 draw in a dead rubber in Aarhus on Monday).
Should the Danes fail to qualify for Euro 2020 the conventional way, the team will most likely have to beat Ukraine in a one-off Nations League semi-final playoff match in Kiev, before taking on Sweden or Bosnia-Hercegovina in a prospective final.
In related news, the 30-year-man who was found drowned in Copenhagen harbour over the weekend was an Irish fan in Denmark to see the match.
The death was marked by a minute’s silence before kick-off on Monday night, while the Irish players wore black armbands during the game.
Bears mauling the competition
Denmark’s top basketball squad, the Bakken Bears, are continuing their strong play from last year in Europe, smashing Ukrainian champs Cherkaski Mavpy by over 30 points in a 121-89 beatdown in Aarhus. The win is the fifth in a row for the Bears in the FIBA Europe Cup, following big wins against opposition from Romania and Kosovo. The Danes sit on top of Group E with a perfect record and face second-placed Kosovar side Z Mobile Prishtina (4-1 record) away tonight in the final group matchup. The Bears recently secured its first-ever number 1 position in the FIBA Europa Cup power rankings.
Following in Wayne’s footsteps
The 25-year-old forward Patrick Russell became the 12th Dane to lace up skates in the NHL after being called up by the Edmonton Oilers over the weekend. Russell, who wasn’t drafted by any NHL team, has been playing for the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL. Russell didn’t manage to get any points in the two games he took part in (both loses) and he wasn’t on the Oiler’s roster for their match last night. The Edmonton Oilers are probably best known for fostering the great Wayne Gretzky.
Danish Le Mans glee in China
The Danish Aston Martin racers, Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim, triumphed in the fifth Le Mans race of the season in Shanghai. The duo, who race in the GTE class, won their first race since taking home the checkered flag in Mexico last season. Michael Christensen, a fellow Dane, finished third with his Porsche partner Kevin Estre, and the duo currently hold a convincing 44.5 point lead in the overall standings. Sørensen and Thiim, meanwhile, are in fifth overall, 55.5 points adrift of Christensen and Estre.
Under-21s battered by big boys
A Danish under-21 side missing a number of key players was beaten handily by Spain and England over the last week. First, the Danes lost 4-1 away to Spain last Wednesday, despite going ahead early on through a Mikkel Duelund strike. Then the English romped to a 5-1 win in Esbjerg, a match during which Marcus Ingvartsen became the leading scorer in history for the Danish under-21 side. The Genk forward surpassed Peter Møller on the all-time list to reach 17 goals thanks to his strike just before half-time. Denmark will take part in the 2019 Euros this coming summer, as will Spain and England.