Sport Round-Up: Denmark coach rubbishes FIFA’s World Cup plan

Elsewhere, Clara Tauson cracks the top 50, Denmark performs well in the cycling worlds and Woz gets new opponent for farewell match

FIFA’s plan to organise a World Cup every two years instead of four has been met with consternation by Denmark’s coach Kasper Hjulmand. 

Hjulmand said he didn’t think that the world football body’s idea was a good one and urged FIFA to consult the players themselves. He also believes the move will devalue the European Championship.

“In Europe we have a really good tournament. I’m concerned about the players and they should be consulted. There’s no reason for more games,” Hjulmand told TV2 Sport.

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Players not in favour 
FIFPRO, the union for international footballers, has not been consulted by FIFA in relation to the plan. 

FIFPRO has stated it is not in favour of the FIFA proposal as the current match schedule is already rigorous. 

“I like that we have a Euros and a World Cup every four years. It’s a good fit,” said Hjulmand. 

The World Cup has been held every four years since 1930 – though not in 1942 and 1946 due to WWII.

The next World Cup will be hosted by Qatar in November and December 2022.

Denmark performs well at cycling worlds
Denmark performed admirably during the recent Cycling World Championships in Belgium, securing two golds and a bronze. Johan Price-Pejtersen and Gustav Wang got the golds in time trials – in the under-23 and junior classes respectively – while Michael Valgren got the bronze in the road race for the elite class. The medal haul saw Denmark finish second overall behind Italy, which won three golds and a bronze. The Netherlands, the UK and France completed the top five.

Tabling a rare medal
Denmark’s men’s table tennis team got its best result at a European Championship in over a decade by finishing third overall. The Danes had a chance to reach the final but were beaten 3-0 by Germany in the semis. It’s the fourth time that Denmark has won a medal in the Euros and the first time since 2009, when they got silver. The Danes won the tournament in 2005 and also won bronze in 2000.

Mix bag of European results
The results weren’t quite what the Danish teams participating in European football this season were looking for. There was nothing to write home about in the Europa League last week, where FC Midtjylland (1-3 to Braga) and Brøndby (0-3 to Lyon) both lost. FC Copenhagen (3-1 over Lincoln Red Imps) and Randers (1-1 with Cluj) spared Denmark’s blushes in the Conference League to claim some much-needed coefficient points.

Poulsen returns to Denmark
Former Juventus, Seville and Liverpool midfielder Christian Poulsen has joined the Denmark squad as an assistant coach to Kasper Hjulmand. Poulsen, who was recently an assistant at Ajax, won 92 caps for Denmark during his career. He was also named Danish footballer of the year in 2005 and 2006. He replaces Ebbe Sand, who stepped down from the national team following Euro 2020. 

Dane among UCI elite
It has emerged that Henrik Jess Jensen will be part of the world governing cycling body UCI’s prestigious Management Committee. The head of the Danish Cycling Union will be part of the committee for the next four years. The committee has 11 members all representing different nationalities – of whom seven come from Europe.

No Serena for Woz farewell
It was announced in September that Caroline Wozniacki’s COVID-19-delayed farewell match in the Royal Arena will take place on 9 February 2022. Initially, good friend Serena Williams was due to be her opponent for the match, but that honour will now go to another former world number one, Angelique Kerber of Germany. Williams recently had to cancel her participation at the US Open through injury, and it is unknown when she will return to the court. Wozniacki, 31, retired from professional tennis in January 2020 following a career that included an Australian Open title and being ranked the world number one for 71 weeks.

Teen handed Sporting life
Sporting Lisbon has had legends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Peter Schmeichel on its books in the past. Now Danish teenager Magnus Gaunsbæk has made the jump, joining the Portuguese champions from Nyborg G&IF. The 16-year-old defender has signed a three-year deal and will play for the club’s academy.

Ladies kick off WC quals in style
The Danish women’s national team got off to a good start in their World Cup qualification campaign with two big wins over Malta and Azerbaijan. Malta were beaten 7-0 at home, before the Azeris were thrashed 8-0 in Baku. The Danes top Group E ahead of Russia on goal difference. The group winner will directly qualify for the tournament, while three second-placed teams will enter a playoff round.

Faroese make European history
Faroese outfit TB Tvøroyri made history last month by becoming the first top-tier football club in Europe to hire a female head coach for its men’s team. TB Tvøroyri promoted English national Helen Lorraine Nkwocha to head coach from a position as head of youth football. Nkwocha, who played football herself and has a background as a police officer, lost her first game in charge 1-6. 

Tauson cracks top 50
Denmark’s big tennis hope Clara Tauson cracked the top 50 in the WTA World rankings for the first time in her career this week. Tauson is currently ranked 49 in the world, largely thanks to a recent WTA 250 tournament win in Luxembourg, where she beat Jelena Ostapenko in the final. The 18-year-old Dane also recently won a WTA 125 tournament in Chicago, beating eventual US Open winner Emma Raducanu in the final. 

Danes close to China upset
The Danish badminton team was close to springing an upset of China at the world championships over the weekend. Denmark were ahead by 2-1 in games in the quarter-final matchup before China came back to win 3-2. Viktor Axelsen (men’s singles) and Anders Skaarup/Frederik Søgaard (men’s doubles) had given Denmark the lead, but China won the women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles to progress to the semis.