|Euro 2024||06/16 16:00||1||Slovenia vs Denmark||-||View|
|Euro 2020||06/20 16:00||2||Denmark vs England||-||View|
|Euro 2020||06/25 19:00||3||Denmark vs Serbia||-||View|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||11/20 19:45||10|| Northern Ireland v Denmark ||L||2-0|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||11/17 19:45||9|| Denmark v Slovenia ||W||2-1|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||10/17 18:45||8|| San Marino v Denmark ||W||1-2|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||10/14 18:45||7|| Denmark v Kazakhstan ||W||3-1|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||09/10 16:00||6|| Finland v Denmark ||W||0-1|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||09/07 18:45||5|| Denmark v San Marino ||W||4-0|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||06/19 18:45||4|| Slovenia v Denmark ||D||1-1|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||06/16 18:45||3|| Denmark v Northern Ireland ||W||1-0|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||03/26 13:00||2|| Kazakhstan v Denmark ||L||3-2|
|Euro 2024 Qualifying||03/23 19:45||1|| Denmark v Finland ||W||3-1|
|World Cup 2022||11/30 15:00||3|| Australia v Denmark ||L||1-0|
|World Cup 2022||11/26 16:00||2|| France v Denmark ||L||2-1|
|Failed to score||1||0||1|
The Denmark men's national football team (Danish: Danmarks herre-fodboldlandshold or herrelandsholdet) represents Denmark and Greenland in men's international football competitions. It is controlled by the Danish Football Association (DBU), the governing body for the football clubs which are organised under DBU. Denmark's home stadium is Parken Stadium in the Østerbro district of Copenhagen; their head coach is Kasper Hjulmand.
Denmark were the winners of the 1906 Intercalated Games football competition and silver medalists at the 1908 and 1912 Olympics. However, as amateurs who prohibited their internationals from becoming professionals at foreign clubs, Denmark did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup until 1986, although they won another Olympic silver in 1960.
Denmark has remained competitive in international tournaments. Triumph in the 1992 European Championship in Sweden marked the team's most prominent victory, defeating defending champions the Netherlands in the semi-final and world champions Germany in the final. They also won the 1995 King Fahd Cup, defeating Argentina in the final. Their best World Cup result was achieved in 1998, where they narrowly lost 3–2 in a quarter-final against Brazil. Denmark also made the round of 16 in 1986, 2002 and 2018. Most prominent result in recent history was at the UEFA Euro 2020 where the team lost in the semi-final against England after extra time.
On 12 April 1896, Denmark XI defeated Podilatikos Syllogos Athinon, either 9–0 or 15–0, at the Neo Phaliron Velodrome in Athens in a demonstration game during the 1896 Olympic Games.
On 18 April 1897, a game was played in Hamburg when a selection team from the Danish Football Association defeated a selection team from the Hamburg-Altona Football Association, 5–0 in the presence of 5,000 spectators.
The first three editions of the Olympic football event in 1900–1906 had an unofficial status, as the event was not yet open for national football teams to compete, and only had limited participation of three or four club teams from a few nations. Denmark had no club team invited in the 1900 Olympics and the 1904 Olympics, but then received a special invitation for the 1906 Olympics, to compete against one Greek club team (Athens) and two club teams from the Ottoman Empire (Smyrna and Thessaloniki). The team to represent Denmark was compiled of players from the Copenhagen Football Association (KBU), and they won the event, and thereby an unofficial gold medal. Two years later, in the first official football tournament at the 1908 Olympics, Denmark won a silver medal. At the next Olympics, in 1912, the team again won a silver medal, which was followed by a golden era from July 1912 until August 1920, with Denmark ranked most of the time as number one in the world by the Elo ranking. The first official national football match was played on 19 October 1908 during the Olympic Games in London. Denmark beat France's second team 9–0 in the tournament's quarterfinals.
Although Denmark figured fairly prominently in the pre-FIFA World Cup era, international success would elude them for years from the first World Cup in 1930 and forward. Despite the country's ability to produce outstanding football talents, the Danish Football Union (DBU) only had the ambition (or economy) to send the national team to play friendly matches and in the regional tournament, the Nordic Championship, from October 1920 until June 1948. When DBU opted to set their sights higher, they allowed the national team to start contesting the Olympics again, promptly resulting in a bronze medal at the 1948 Olympics. After, the team only reached the quarter-final at the 1952 Olympics, with the DBU choosing not to contest the next 1956 Olympics. As football remained an amateur past-time, most of the best Danish footballers moved abroad to make a living, and due to DBU enforcing the rule to bar all professionals from the national team, it started to become difficult to assemble a highly competitive team.
Denmark experienced their next revival at the 1960 Olympics with a third set of Olympic silver medals. This was followed by another notable performance at the 1964 European Nations' Cup, where Denmark impressively finished in fourth place. However, this finish was considered by many as being more the result of a comparatively easy draw rather than a result of a well-playing team. In order for Denmark to qualify for the semi-final, they only had to defeat Malta, Albania and Luxembourg. In the semi-final, Denmark fell 3–0 to the Soviet Union, then lost the third-place match to Hungary.
The strict rule of only allowing amateurism at the national team was finally abolished by the DBU in May 1971, as they had acknowledged this change was needed in order to build a highly competitive team. In February 1978, when the DBU also decided to allow professional football to be introduced in the Danish leagues, the way was at the same time paved for the national team to sign its first sponsorship with the well-known Danish brewery Carlsberg. The new sponsorship enabled the DBU to hire the German Sepp Piontek in July 1979 as the first full-time professional coach of the national team. The full transition of the national team from amateurism to professionalism had now been accomplished, and indeed, this would soon lead to a vast improvement in the performances of the team.
According to Rob Smyth and Lars Eriksen, authors of a book on the "Danish Dynamite" team that would soon emerge:
That process [the transition to professionalism] was accelerated by the fact that so many of the national team were playing abroad, and values learned there were slowly seeping in. ... Denmark got a headstart on football globalisation, benefiting from the enlightenment and experience that comes with playing abroad. At Euro 84, their 20-man squad contained 14 overseas-based players; the other seven teams had only five between them. At Mexico 86, their squad included players from the champions of Italy, West Germany, England, Holland and Belgium, but not Denmark.
In the 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification, Denmark finished with eight points from eight matches, including a 3–1 win against the eventual World Cup champions Italy, but Denmark failed to qualify for the final tournament despite the impressive result. Qualification for UEFA Euro 1984 saw Denmark defeat England at Wembley Stadium when Allan Simonsen converted a penalty kick for a 1–0 win. Denmark qualified for their first international tournament since 1964, and the team was dubbed "Danish Dynamite" in a competition for the official Danish Euro 1984 song. Denmark's participation ended in the semi-final when the team lost on penalties to Spain, most remembered for Preben Elkjær's penalty miss, his shorts torn apart. Following the strong performance at the finals, the name "Danish Dynamite" became a mainstay for the following decade of the Danish national team under head coach Sepp Piontek.
Denmark made their first World Cup appearance in the 1986 World Cup, and with the attacking duo of Michael Laudrup and Preben Elkjær, thrashed Uruguay 6–1. In the second round, Denmark once again faced Spain and once more lost, 5–1, including four goals by Emilio Butragueño. The first Spanish goal was caused by a miss-timed backpass by Jesper Olsen to Butragueño, an unfortunate action subsequently coined as "a real Jesper Olsen" ("en rigtig Jesper Olsen"). The phrase would live on for 13 years, and was repeated by the Danish TV commentators in 1999, when an identical backpass was carried out by Jesper Grønkjær to Filippo Inzaghi in Grønkjær's debut for the national team.
Denmark qualified for Euro 1988, and nearly made the 1988 Olympics. Richard Møller Nielsen guided Denmark to a secured spot for the final tournament – ahead of West Germany, but following the discovery that Dane Per Frimann was not eligible for the team's 2–0 win over Poland, Denmark was penalised, and subsequently failed to qualify. At Euro 1988, Denmark's participation ended in early defeat after Denmark lost all the group games to Spain 3-2, West Germany 2-0 and Italy 2-0. They then failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup; Sepp Piontek resigned as head coach of the national team in April 1990, where he was replaced by Richard Møller Nielsen.
Denmark began Euro 1992 qualification with a secure home victory against the Faroe Islands, but the following results in the qualification were an away draw against Northern Ireland and a 2–0 home loss against Yugoslavia. Danes Michael Laudrup and Brian Laudrup opted to quit the national team in November 1990. When Nielsen subsequently decided to dismiss quality players such as Jan Mølby and Jan Heintze from the squad, due to disciplinary problems, several newspapers began demanding that Nielsen step down as head coach. Despite this, Denmark won the rest of their five matches in the qualification group, including a 2–1 away win against Yugoslavia. This was not enough to qualify, as the team still had to settle with a second place in the group, behind Yugoslavia.
Due to international sanctions resulting from the Yugoslav wars, UEFA announced on 31 May 1992 – only ten days prior to the competition – that Yugoslavia was to be excluded from the competition and their place given to Denmark, who finished as the second-placed team in its qualifying group.
Contrary to popular belief, the team did not enter the tournament completely unprepared, after having rallied home from seaside vacations. The majority of players were already assembled to play a friendly match against the CIS when Denmark officially received Yugoslavia's spot. Relying heavily on goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and his defence, as well as creative spark Brian Laudrup – having decided to make a comeback for the national team in April 1992 – the Danish team created one of the biggest surprises in the event's history, as they went on to win the European Championship trophy under head coach Nielsen's defensive playing style. Advancing from the group stage ahead of England and France, Denmark defeated the Netherlands – the defending Euro 1988 champions – on penalties in the semi-final. Then, in the final, Denmark won 2–0 win against reigning World Cup champions Germany, ensuring Denmark its first international trophy.
In August 1993, Michael Laudrup decided to settle his ongoing dispute with Richard Møller Nielsen about the team tactics and made a comeback to the national team. However, the following years Denmark saw mixed results, as they first failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, but then won the 1995 Confederations Cup, beating Copa América champions Argentina 2–0 in the final. As defending champions at Euro 1996, Denmark disappointed with a lackluster performance after an early elimination in the group stage. The team had achieved a respectable win against Turkey, a draw against Portugal and only a defeat to Croatia.
Nielsen's replacement was Swede Bo "Bosse" Johansson, who gave the team a more offensive strategy, and the 1998 World Cup saw the revival of the Danish team, starring both Laudrup brothers in their last international campaign. After defeating Saudi Arabia 1–0, drawing with South Africa and losing 2–1 to eventual champions France, Denmark defeated Nigeria 4–1 in the round of 16. They exited in the quarterfinals with a 3–2 loss to Brazil.
Without the Laudrup brothers, Denmark qualified for Euro 2000, only to lose all three matches in the group stage.
Morten Olsen was named the new manager for Denmark in 2000 and the team was quickly dubbed the "Olsen Gang", a reference to the series of Danish movies based around the main character Egon Olsen and his genius (criminal) plans. The nickname was also used for the Danish team as an alternative to the more commonly used "Danish Dynamite", already in those days when Olsen played as a captain. Denmark's tactics shifted from the preferred 4–4–2 formation practised by Bo Johansson to an even more attacking style with an emphasis on the wingers available at the time, namely Jesper Grønkjær and Dennis Rommedahl. Accordingly, the Olsen's preferred formation has been either a 4–3–3 or a 4–2–3–1. Olsen even possessed an outspoken opposition to the 4–4–2 system, as he threatened to leave his position as head coach in the event he was asked to deploy Denmark in that formation. To support the development of players for the new tactical 4–3–3 system, all national youth teams also changed their formation. Another change Olsen brought to the national team was to stress the importance of only using fit players who had been granted regular playing time at their club. However, at times he was forced to compromise from this principle, as the pool of players available in the relatively small nation did not always provide him viable substitute options.
Denmark qualified both for the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, but despite impressive results in the group stage in both tournaments, especially the 2–0 win against reigning World Cup winners France in 2002, Denmark failed to advance any further. At the 2002 World Cup, Denmark was defeated by England in the round of 16, and at Euro 2004, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals against the Czech Republic.
For the 2006 World Cup qualification, Denmark was paired with 2002 third place Turkey and eventual Euro 2004 champions Greece. Following a poor start to qualification, Denmark was trailing both Turkey and Ukraine. After failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Morten Olsen considered leaving the job, having received several offers from club teams, but decided to stay and extended his contract until after the 2010 World Cup.
When Denmark's attempt to qualify for the Euro 2008 also failed, the team was heavily criticised. Despite this, Denmark qualified for the 2010 World Cup by winning the group, earning two wins against Sweden and four points against Portugal. Olsen's contract was extended for two further years, until Euro 2012.
At the 2010 World Cup, Denmark was grouped with Japan, Cameroon and the Netherlands. Denmark lost the first match 2–0 to the Netherlands, but then scored a 2–1 victory against Cameroon. The game against Japan, however ended with a 3–1 defeat.
In qualification for Euro 2012, Denmark was once again grouped with Portugal; Denmark secured first place in the group, qualifying directly for the final tournament. Out of eight qualifying matches, Denmark won six, drew one and lost one, resulting Olsen's contract to be extended until after the 2014 World Cup.
At Euro 2012, Denmark were drawn in the proclaimed "group of death", Group B, alongside Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. After defeating the Netherlands 1–0, they lost 3–2 to Portugal, requiring a win against Germany to advance in the tournament. Despite Michael Krohn-Dehli's equaliser, Denmark lost 2–1 to Germany, and with Portugal defeating the Netherlands 2–1, Denmark was eliminated from the tournament after finishing third in Group B.
Denmark failed to qualify for the next two tournaments under Olsen. They finished second in their 2014 World Cup qualifying group but failed to achieve a play-off berth as they were the "worst" of the UEFA group runners-up (after excluding results against the bottom teams). In UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying they finished third in their group, behind Albania and eventual winners Portugal, but lost to Sweden in the play-offs.
When measuring the performance of the national team by winning share and earned points, Olsen's reign of the Danish national team from July 2000 until January 2012 has so far been the second-most successful in the era of full-time professional coaches, which began in July 1979. As of January 2012, Olsen had a winning share of 52.8%, and with three points for a victory and one for a draw, an average of 1.84 points per match. In comparison, Richard Møller Nielsen still has the best record among the professional coaches of the national team, with a 54.8% winning share and an average of 1.89 points per game.
New coach Åge Hareide presided over the Danish campaign during the qualification stages. Denmark, ranked number 24 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 berth in the play-offs, with a 1–0 away to Montenegro. Denmark were rewarded for their second-place finish with a play-off against the Republic of Ireland. Denmark secured qualification with a 5–1 win at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, which included a hat-trick by Christian Eriksen, who added to his tally of eight goals in qualification.
Denmark were allocated into Pot 3 in advance of the draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They were drawn into Group C, alongside Australia, Peru, and France. Their campaign in Russia began in the Mordovia Arena, Saransk, against Peru. A Yussuf Poulsen goal in the second half secured three points for the Danes. However, they struggled against Australia in their second tie, as Christian Eriksen's early goal was cancelled out by a VAR-awarded penalty, converted by Mile Jedinak, in a game that ended 1–1. Denmark secured qualification in their final group game, playing out the only goalless draw in the entire tournament, in the Luzhniki Stadium against France; a result which saw both teams progress.
Denmark faced Croatia in the round of 16, with the Croats topping Group D with three wins. Mathias Jørgensen scored within the first minute of the game to give Denmark the lead, but Mario Mandzukic equalised only three minutes later, leaving the teams equally perched at one goal apiece. The match remained at 1–1 after ninety minutes, necessitating thirty minutes of extra-time, which still failed to separate the teams, as Luka Modrić saw his late penalty saved by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. As such, the tie was to be decided with a penalty shoot-out, with Schmeichel and his Croatian counterpart, Danijel Subašić, positioning themselves on the line to face five penalties each. Croatia advanced, as Subašić saved three shots from Eriksen, Lasse Schöne and Nicolai Jørgensen respectively. Ivan Rakitić scored the decisive penalty to eliminate the Danes, putting an end to their best World Cup campaign since 2002.
Following the World Cup, Denmark prepared for participation in the inaugural iteration of the UEFA Nations League, having been drawn in League B against Wales and the Republic of Ireland. The tournament offers an alternative route of qualification for the European Championship, and increases the number of competitive games for international sides, replacing friendlies.
Owing to a dispute with the players' union regarding the commercial rights of the players, the Danish Football Union 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), in lieu of the regular side, to face Slovakia in a pre-Nations League friendly, and it was feared that the same squad would be used for the competitive fixture against Wales. The dispute arose due to the image rights of the players, with Hummel having the exclusive right to the manufacture and marketing of Danish kits. The DBU wanted to use individual players, without explicit permissions, in their advertising. Hareide would similarly not be involved, with the side instead falling under the temporary management of John Jensen, with Hasse Kuhn serving as the assistant manager. The Danish FA are currently under a four-year probationary period with UEFA for having forfeited a Women's World Cup qualification game against Sweden in 2017 due to a similar dispute with the women's team, and a further violation could have resulted in Denmark being prohibited from participation in either the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League or the 2020 European Championship. After a temporary agreement enabled the return of the regular players, the Danes won their first Nations League fixture 2–0.
Hareide managed Denmark during UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying and won four matches, drawing four more. This meant Denmark qualified for the tournament, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the tournament was postponed to 2021, and Hareide's contract expired on 30 June 2020. He was replaced by Kasper Hjulmand.
At UEFA Euro 2020, Denmark lost their first group stage match against Finland; Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in the 43rd minute, causing the match to be halted. They reached the semi-finals despite finishing the group stage with only one win, in which they lost 2–1 in extra-time against England. In the 2022–23 UEFA Nations League A, they finished second in their group, only one point behind Croatia and winning twice against world champions France. Denmark also qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, topping Group F in the qualification campaign ahead of Scotland, with nine victories. Only one defeat occurred in the final fixture against the Scots in a game which Denmark were already guaranteed a direct place in Qatar.
In the 2022 World Cup, Denmark were drawn again with old foe France, together with African powerhouse Tunisia and Asian underdogs Australia in group D. Due to their impressive Euro 2020 performance and World Cup qualifying and Nations League displays, expectations for Denmark to make a historic breakthrough were high and the Danes were even seen as the biggest dark horses in the World Cup, with predictions going as far as winning it. Denmark were reinforced with the return of captain Christian Eriksen, who recovered from the Euro 2020 stroke. They began their World Cup quest in Qatar with a goalless draw to Tunisia in a game where the Danes controlled possession. In the second game, Denmark played France in the Nations League rematch. This time Les Bleus prevailed over the Danes 2–1, with a brace from Kylian Mbappé after an equaliser from Andreas Christensen. Denmark were forced to beat Australia, who previously downed Tunisia; however, Denmark demonstrated a rather poor performance against the Aussies, unable to break the deadlock and conceding a goal by Mathew Leckie to lose 1–0. Denmark finished last in their group with only one point and one goal scored. Moreover, the elimination by Australia meant Denmark were eliminated by an Asian representative for the second time in its history, having been eliminated by Japan back in 2010.