I remember supporting Denmark all the way to their European Championship win in 1992. It’s a testament to their excellent coaching strategy that 20 years later none of those same players are in the squad. But even without the various Laudrups, the Danes are ranked ninth in the world and beat Portugal to the top spot in their qualifying group. One name among their current ranks that will be familiar to Premier League fans is that of Nicklas Bendtner, the world’s greatest striker (at least in his own head).
Premier League rep for The Netherlands is this season’s top scorer, Arsenal’s Robin van Persie – although there’s a chance even he’ll be eclipsed by Schalke 04 striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar who netted an impressive 12 goals in eight qualifying games.
The teams meet for the first Ukraine-based game of the tournament this evening at the excellently-named Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.
ONE TO WATCH: Or, rather, one to watch out for, if you’re a Danish attacking player with a fondness for keeping your shins intact. Holland’s Wesley Sneijder proved himself a right dirty cropper in the last World Cup.
PHRASE OF THE GAME: “Total football.” The Dutch invented it, you know. The commentators may mention this from time to time. See also: “Great Dane”, probably referring to Nicklas Bendtner – but any largish member of the Denmark side will do.
PREDICTION: Quite possibly a tight one. 2-2 would make for an entertaining game.