Sports News in Brief: Denmark gets another good draw

Elsewhere, the handball ladies disappoint, Astralis don’t and there are accolades for Eriksen and Harder

A little over a week ago Denmark were handed a favourable draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, and today lady luck once again smiled on the Danes in the Euro 2021 Under-21 qualification draw.

The top-seeded Danes avoided the Netherlands and Belgium from the second seeds, ending up with a manageable group consisting of Ukraine, Romania, Finland, Northern Ireland and Malta.

“We missed out on the teams we wanted to avoid from the second seeds, and that’s really the most important thing. So it’s a really decent draw,” Niels Frederiksen, the head coach, told

“Geographically, the draw is also sensible. We don’t need to travel to Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan. Not that the teams we drew are next door, but they are trips that are reasonable in terms of travel time.”

READ MORE: Denmark handed great qualification draw for Euro 2020

First thing’s first
First up for Frederiksen and company, however, will be Euro 2019 this coming summer in Italy and San Marino.

And the competition here will be a little more formidable, with the Danes facing the likes of Germany, Serbia and Austria in Group B.

Astralis completes Grand Slam
Danish eSports side Astralis have 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. In front of a raucous crowd, the Danes beat US side Team Liquid 3-1 in the final of the ESL Pro League in Odense on Sunday. The Americans took an early 0-1 lead, but Astralis roared back to take the title in four games.

Hjalte honing in on NFL
Hjalte Froholdt is confident that he will become the first Dane since Morten Andersen to be selected in the NFL Draft this coming year. The big Dane, who recently finished his collegiate career with the Arkansas Razorbacks, told NordicBet that he was “sure” he would be drafted – a decent indication that the offensive lineman will be playing on Sundays next year. Despite the Razorbacks having a tough season this year, the Dane turned heads with his ability to protect his quarterback.

Handballers crash out
After the 2018 Women’s Handball European Championship in France was interrupted by the Paris riots, the Danish women’s handball team crashed out of the tournament following three straight losses to Serbia, France and Russia – the latter two defeats coming in the middle group stage round. The Danes now sit bottom of their group without a chance of reaching the semi-finals. However, the Danes still have a chance to qualify for the Olympics if they finish the tournament off strongly.

Accolades for Eriksen and Harden
Pernille Harder may have finished second at the Ballon D’Or recently, but she’ll be happy to know that The Guardian newspaper has her as the best female footballer in the world for 2018. Nadia Nadim came 34th, while Sanne Troelsgaard was ranked 77th. Elsewhere, Christian Eriksen was ranked as the fifth-best attacking midfielder in the world, behind Kevin de Bruyne, Isco, David Silva and Phillipe Coutinho, and ahead of Dele Alli, Bernardo Silva, James Rodriguez, Koke and Mesut Ozil.

DBU head aiming for UEFA top
Jesper Møller, the chairman of DBU, has announced he will be a candidate for the UEFA committee (UEFA Exco) election on February 7. Møller, who is a former member of the National Teams Competition Committee and UEFA Events SA, said he would still prioritise Danish football – at national and club level. Møller decided to be a candidate after being urged to do so by the DBU and other Nordic countries in order to focus more on reforms in the European footballing governing body.