Following a highly-encouraging 2-0 win away in Israel last Thursday, national team coach Kasper Hjulmand had no qualms about changing the entire outfield for the home match against Moldova in Herning yesterday.
The result was a resounding 8-0 win for his young guns – a victory that brought back memories of a similar demolition of eastern European opponents in 1987, when Romania were dispatched by exactly the same scoreline.
Not only was it Denmark’s biggest win for 34 years, but the eight-goal margin was Moldova’s biggest ever international defeat too.
Big game on Wednesday
Mikkel Damsgaard of Sampdoria was the standout player, contributing two goals as Denmark raced to a 5-0 half-time lead, before contributing two assists in the second half.
Kasper Dolberg and Jens Stryger Larsen also weighed in with braces to underline Denmark’s strong start in Group F, which the refreshed A team will be hoping to continue on Wednesday away in Austria.
Should Denmark win, they will have already won two of their three trickiest away fixtures, just three games into their campaign.
Squeezed a protest in
Finally, to cap it all, the players even managed to wear shirts protesting against the human rights record of 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar, which read “Football supports change”.
The protest might have been more striking had it not followed similar ones by Norway and Germany during the first round of matches.
In January, the Danish government ruled out a boycott of the tournament, but one could still be ordered by the DBU governing body.
Under-21s sitting pretty
Call them the ‘C team’ if you like, but the under-21s also have much to celebrate following their game last night.
Their 2-0 defeat of Iceland at the U21 European Championships followed a 1-0 surprise scalp of France last Thursday and all but assures the Danes of a place in the knockout stages of the tournament, which will be played out at the end of May.
Their final group game is against Russia, who beat Iceland but lost to France, on Wednesday. Should they lose and France beat Iceland, all three teams will finish on six points and it will come down to goal difference between the games played – not including Iceland.
Russia (-2 goal difference) would accordingly need to beat Denmark (+1) by a two-goal margin.