***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is under a single moon away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Denmark which has qualified for the World Cup six times.
“You gotta not be in it to win it”
Nickname: De Rød-Hvide (The Red and White)
FIFA Ranking: 10 (October 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Qualified, finishing top of group above Scotland, Israel, Austria, Faroe Islands and Moldova
Proving the old adage that you’ve got to not be in it to win it, Denmark have remarkably won every single major international tournament that it partipated in after failing to qualify.
In qualification for the 1992 European Championships, Denmark failed to overcome the mighty Yugoslavian team for top spot, thereby miss out on the final 8-team event to be held in Sweden. However, after Yugoslavia was disqualified due to sanctions imposed because of the Bosnian war, Denmark was given Yugoslavia’s place at the event. Stepping in at the eleventh hour, Denmark not only filled out the numbers but managed to blitz its way through the whole tournament and take home the crown, even though it shouldn’t actually have been in it.
After its opening match against Italia 90 semi-finalists England finished in a 0-0 stalemate, and despite a subsequent defeat to hosts Sweden, Denmark–which were technically not even there and just a figment of everyone’s imagination– then, needing a win to advance past the group stage, first knocked off Euro 1984 champions France to advance, and then the defending European champions Netherlands in the semi-finals before ultimately defeating defending world champion Germany in the final to incredibly become European Champions. All this for a team that wasn’t actually in it.
While Denmark’s mindblowing Euro 92 miracle is the nation’s greatest ever result in a major international competition, unfortunately for the Danes, this blueprint to success, i.e. not qualifying for an event and then hoping you’re included at the last minute thanks to the team ahead of you getting expelled for war crimes, has not proved effective ever since. In fact, the team has employed a starkly different tactic in World Cup qualifying since 1992, wherein it has actually successfully qualified for the event six times.
The sheer act of booking its place legitimately at the World Cup has caused Denmark to fail at every attempt. It has however experienced some relative success in the event since it first allowed professionals to compete for the national team in 1971.
Its most notable trip to the tournament came in 1998 where it reached the quarter finals and fell just short against Brazil 3-2, after having previously defeated Saudi Arabia in the group stage, drawing 2-2 with South Africa, narrowly going down to France 2-1 and then routing Nigeria 4-1 in the round of 16. Its effort in the 2018 World Cup was also decent, as the side narrowly missed out on advancing to the quarter finals after a penalty shootout loss to Croatia.
Despite these relatively successful journeys to the World Cup, on every occasion, the team were already predestined for failure anyway, and shall forever be so, so long as they continue to qualify legitimately and not get admitted to tournaments at the last second due to other sides’ political sanctioning.
One to watch: That on your first day on the job you you don’t do what Jesper Gronkjaer did
Backing up after its stirring efforts at France 98 where the team reached the quarter finals, only just succumbing to defending world champions Brazil 3-2, Denmark came into qualifying for Euro 2000 with its chest out. However, after a lacklustre start picking up just two points from its first three matches, prior to its crucial home encounter with Italy, Danish coach Morten Olsen finally caved in to the cries of the Danish fans and press and gave much-hyped Ajax sensation Jesper Gronkjaer his long-awaited full international debut. And he didn’t disappoint, that is, he didn’t disappoint if you’re a fan of disastrous but hilarious play that ends up costing a team bigtime.
In the very first minute of the match and with his first touch at the half-way line, Gronkjaer held the ball up for a second and then, without noticing Italian opportunist Filipo Inzaghi sneaking ahead of the last Danish defender, decided to pass the ball all the way back to goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel from a million miles up the field, underhitting the pass horribly and hilariously, gifting a perfect through ball to Inzaghi to latch onto, evade Schmeichel and open the scoring. Classic. The Danes would go on to lose the match 2-1, marking the perfect debut for budding superstar Gronkjaer (perfect that is if you’re a huge fan of sports comedy shows and hilarious calamities on the football field like I am).
The Highpoint: Quarter finals, 1998 World Cup
At France 98, Denmark managed to not only get out of its group but it tore fan favourite Nigeria apart before then giving Brazil an almighty scare in the quarter finals, taking the lead early against the defending champions by scoring after less than 2 minutes, then toing and froing with the 1994 World Cup winners for the entire match, but ultimately succumbing to a decisive Rivaldo strike that gave Brazil a 3-2 win that slammed the door on–still to this day–its best effort at a World Cup (and best effort until it replaces someone at a World Cup due to war).
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 | GROUP STAGE
22 Nov 2022
DENMARK 🇩🇰 x 🇹🇳 TUNISIA
26 Nov 2022
FRANCE 🇫🇷 x 🇩🇰 DENMARK
30 Nov 2022
AUSTRALIA 🇦🇺 x 🇩🇰 DENMARK