Denmark football history - Part 6 - Age Hareide And Present Day

Thu, Oct 11 2018

Age Hareide in celebration mode at the Aviva Stadium Credit: Eoin Smith

Diarmuid Kearney has been looking back through the Danish football records to bring you a series tracing the country's football team's history and here is the final article.

Part 1 - Early Amatuer Days

Part 2 - Signing with Carlsberg and the Danish Dynamite

Part 3 - Euro 92 Failure To Finest Hour

Part 4 - The fall from grace 

Part 5 - The Olsen Gang

Part 6 - Age Hareide And Present Day

Current Denmark manager Age Hareide was appointed to the job in December 2015 and was assigned the task of guiding the Danes during qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Denmark who were ranked 24th in the FIFA World Rankings at the time of the draw, were drawn into Group E, alongside Poland, Montenegro, Romania, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. 

Despite suffering early defeats to Poland and Montenegro, the Danes rallied, and secured second place in the group, and a place in the play-offs, with a 1-0 away win against Montenegro.

Denmark were paired against Saturday's opponents the Republic of Ireland for the play-offs and secured qualification for the finals in Russia with a 5-1 away win at the Aviva Stadium, thanks in part to a hat-trick of goals from Christian Eriksen.

Denmark were drawn in Group C for the 2018 World Cup, alongside Australia, Peru, and eventual champions France. Their campaign in Russia began in the Mordovia Arena, Saransk, against Peru. A Yussuf Poulsen goal in the second half secured all three points for the Danes, leaving them well on their way for qualification from the group.

However, they struggled against Australia in their second match of the tournament, as an early Christian Eriksen goal was cancelled out by a VAR-awarded penalty converted by Mile Jedinak, in a game which ended as a 1-1 draw.

Denmark secured qualification in their final group game, playing out a goalless draw in the Luzhniki Stadium against France, the only result of the entire tournament to finish scoreless, a result which also did enough to give both sides progression to the next round.

Denmark faced Croatia in the round of 16, with the Croats having topped Group D with three consecutive wins. Mathias Jorgensen scored within the first minute of the game to give Denmark the lead, but Mario Mandzukic equalised only three minutes later, leaving the teams tied at one goal apiece.

The match remained at 1-1 after ninety minutes, and after the required thirty minutes of extra-time, the sides could still not be separated, as Luka Modric had his late spot kick saved by Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. 

As the ref blew the final whistle the tie would be decided with a penalty shoot-out. Despite Schmeichel making two saves, it was Croatia who progressed to the quarter finals, as Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saved three penalties from Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone and Nicolai Jorgensen respectively.

Ivan Rakitic scored the decisive penalty to eliminate the Danes, putting an end to their best World Cup campaign since 2002, when they were eliminated at the same stage by England.

Following the World Cup, Denmark prepared for the first instalment of the UEFA Nations League, having been drawn in League B against Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Following a dispute with the players' union regarding the commercial rights of the players, the Danish Football Association named an entirely uncapped squad, consisting of a mixture of futsal players and players from the Danish 2nd Division and the Denmark Series (the third and fourth tier of Danish football respectively), to face Slovakia in a pre-Nations League friendly which they lost 3-0, and it was feared that the same squad would be used for the competitive fixture against Wales just four days later.

After a temporary agreement enabled the return of the regular players, the Danes won their first Nations League fixture 2-0.

The Republic and Denmark are well used to facing each other having faced off 15 times, with the Republic winning five while the Danes have managed six victories over the boys in green.

Ireland have not beaten the Danish in a competitive competition since 1979, during qualification for the 1980 European championship, where a Johnny Giles managed side recorded a 2-0 win at Lansdowne road.