Denmark have history in European competition, winning the 1992 European Championships. If it was unexpected then, it's even more unexpected now. Here are five of their potential stars this summer.
Kasper Schmeichel (goalkeeper)
This man needs no introduction. Son of one of the world’s greatest ever goalkeepers, Kasper Schmeichel has enjoyed a career that almost matches his fathers. Not in terms of trophies, of course, but if you want a shot-stopper who commands his box and leads his team to victory, he’s your man.
Part of the Leicester City team which famously won the Premier League at odds of 5000/1 in 2016, Schmeichel is one of just two surviving members – alongside Jamie Vardy. Players come and go, but legends live forever and the Foxes’ FA Cup triumph last month further cemented Schmeichel’s status at the King Power Stadium.
As for his performances for Denmark, he’s had to endure a long transition phase as the squad built for the future, but now he has a solid spine in front of him and there is not much doubt that he will be one of the stars of the tournament. He’ll need to be if they’re going to get out of group B.
Joachim Andersen (defender)
Joachim Andersen has been one of the most talked about young defenders in the Premier League this season. On loan at Fulham from parent club Lyon, the 24-year-old impressed despite being unable to save the Cottagers from relegation. Able to comfortably play on either side of the backline and even in defensive midfield, Andersen is one of Denmark’s brightest young stars and is expected to feature heavily at Euro 2020.
Having signed for Dutch side FC Twente as a 16-year-old back in 2013, Andersen had to wait two years to make his debut and scored his first senior goal just a fortnight later. From then on, the only way was up and two impressive seasons at Sampdoria were enough to convince Lyon of, not only his potential, but his quality in the here and now. Tottenham Hotspur are rumoured to be interested in his signature and a solid Euros wouldn’t hurt.
Lasse Schöne (midfielder)
Lasse Schöne is a true Ajax icon. Schöne proudly donned the famous red and white strip from 2012 to 2019 and is up there with the likes of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in terms of his goalscoring involvement. He may only have scored three times in 50 appearances for his country, but Schöne’s quality has never gone unnoticed and has one of the greatest international debuts in history – scoring within a minute of coming off the bench against Sweden in 2009.
Fighting with Christian Eriksen for a place in the starting eleven is never easy, but Schöne has proven his ability time after time and fans plead to see them on the pitch at the same time having witnessed the pairing’s success in the 2018 World Cup. At 35, Euro 2020 is going to be Schöne’s last international tournament and he may hang his boots up at its conclusion, so it would be brilliant to see him go out with a bang.
Christian Eriksen (midfielder)
Speaking about Eriksen, he’s next on the list. Another off the Ajax conveyor belt of world class talent, the no.10 left for Tottenham Hostpur in 2013 and spent seven glorious seasons in North London, scoring 51 goals in 226 matches. Given that Spurs only reached one major final during his time at the club, a record of roughly one goal in every four games from midfield is extremely impressive.
Since moving to Inter Milan, though, things haven’t quite gone to plan. Barring a spectacular injury-time winner against city rivals AC Milan, the Dane has failed to be great in Italy and is likely to be on his way out this summer as the club look to balance the books, despite winning the Serie A title. He probably has one big move left in his career. There’s no better audition stage than an international competition.
Yussuf Poulsen (forward)
Denmark have been missing a clinical goal scorer for the best part of a generation, but Yussuf Poulsen is going about changing that. RB Leipzig’s rise through the German football pyramid has been scintillating and Poulsen has been there every step of the way – banging in 62 goals in 236 appearances. He hasn’t yet, though, hit double figures for Denmark.
Having said that, Martin Braithwaite is an ideal strike partner for him and the Barcelona forward’s rise is bound to come to fruition for a country which has waited a long, long time to see a quality side representing them. Poulsen could be the man to fire them through the group and into the latter stages.