Saints at the Euros: Jannik Vestergaard

By SFC Media time Tue 08 Jun International
Photo by Action Images | Jannik Vestergaard

Our series of previews featuring the Southampton quartet set to represent their countries at EURO 2020 starts with Denmark’s Jannik Vestergaard…

Road to the Euros

One of only five countries to qualify for this summer’s tournament unbeaten, Denmark won four and drew four of their meetings with Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Georgia and Gibraltar, securing their place with a 1-1 draw in Dublin on the final matchday.

Perhaps the most eye-catching result was a 3-3 draw against group winners Switzerland, who led 3-0 until the final six minutes as the Danes mounted an improbable late comeback in their Group D opener.

Due to the delayed staging of the Euros, that game was more than two years ago now. Since then, Denmark have taken four points from England, including victory at Wembley, to finish second behind Belgium in a competitive Nations League group, and begun their World Cup qualifying campaign with three wins out of three.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Mason Mount of England heads the ball but is saved by Kasper Schmeichel of Denmark  during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on October 14, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Nick Potts - Pool/Getty Images)
Kasper Schmeichel frustrates England with a wonder save to deny Mason Mount

Prospects

Helped by home advantage in all three group games, Denmark will fancy their chances of progressing from Group B.

Belgium are favourites to win the section, but even by finishing second, Denmark would likely avoid a big hitter in the last 16.

There is a genuine chance of a quarter-final berth for the Danes, who famously won the competition in 1992, but must avoid any slip ups against major tournament debutants Finland, and a Russia side who performed so well at their own World Cup three years ago.

Fixtures

Saturday 12th June
Denmark vs Finland
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen
BBC, 5pm BST

Thursday 17th June
Denmark vs Belgium
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen
ITV, 5pm BST

Monday 21st June
Russia vs Denmark
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen
BBC, 8pm BST

DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 18: Christian Eriksen of Denmark celebrates with Kasper Schmeichel of Denmark and team mates after the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Denmark at Dublin Arena on November 18, 2019 in Dublin, . (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
The Danes celebrate their qualification for the Euros back in November 2019

The coach

Kasper Hjulmand has only been in the job for 12 months, with predecessor Age Hareide deciding not to stay on an extra year when the tournament was delayed.

A highly-regarded coach, he won his native Superliga with Nordsjaelland before replacing Thomas Tuchel as manager of Mainz, but his stint in Germany was short-lived.

Hjulmand says the special ingredient of his Denmark team is a club-like team spirit and the pride of the players. Their main strength is a strong defensive base, whilst there remains a strong reliance on Christian Eriksen to create and score in the absence of a prolific centre-forward.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Declan Rice of England  battles for possession with  Christian Eriksen of Denmark  during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on October 14, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Daniel Leal Olivas - Pool/Getty Images)
Serie A champion Christian Eriksen remains Denmark's talisman

Players to watch

Kasper Schmeichel is a formidable presence between the posts, well protected by Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen and AC Milan veteran Simon Kjaer. Vestergaard is only likely to start in the event Hjulmand utilises a back three.

Dortmund’s Thomas Delaney and former Saint Pierre-Emile Højbjerg anchor the midfield, offering Eriksen license to roam and feed fleet-footed Leipzig forward Yussuf Poulsen, whose piercing runs in behind defences are the chief beneficiary of Eriksen’s passing range.

Related

Saints' pre-EURO 2020 international guide
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