The Danish men’s national team represents Denmark in the international men’s soccer tournament. Interestingly the Danish team won the Football at the 1906 Intercalated Games and also won silver medals at the Olympics Games in 1908,1912 and 1960. However, Denmark did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup until the year 1986 and the team is currently ranked 13th in the FIFA rankings. The current national team shows signs of a bright future by representing some of Europe’s top clubs and it also qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022. In addition, football is one of the most popular sports in Denmark and the entire country turns out in red and white to support its national teams in major tournaments. And here are to 10 greatest football players from Denmark.
1. Peter Schmeichel
The Great Dane, as he’s affectionately known, is without a doubt the greatest goalkeeper Denmark has ever produced. Peter currently holds the record for the most caps for the national team with 129 appearances. The former Danish international was a colossus in goal for the Danish senior national team. He was part of the squad that won an unlikely Euro tournament in 1992. Peter was also part of the exciting Denmark squad that got to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in France 1998. In club football, Schmeichel was also part of the all-conquering Manchester United sides of the 1990s and early 2000s. He’s the father of current Denmark and Leicester City’s number one goalkeeper, Kasper.
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2. Jon Dahl Tomasson
The retired Danish striker is arguably the greatest forward the Danes have produced. Tomasson is the joint highest goal scorer for the country with 52 goals in 112 matches. He played for the Danish national team between 1997-2010 and was part of squads that went to World Cups and Euro tournaments in the 2000s. Jon also enjoyed a good club career playing for various sides like Feyenoord, AC Milan and Newcastle.
3. Michael Laudrup
The attacking midfielder cum striker is regarded by many as the greatest ever Danish player. The retired Denmark international made 104 appearances for the senior national team with 37 goals to his name. He was part of great Danish squads that took the world by storm at the 1986 and 1998 FIFA World Cups. Laudrup played for a host of high-profile European clubs like Lazio, Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, to mention a few, before finally hanging up his boots in 1998.
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4. Brian Laudrup
The younger of the talented Laudrup siblings, Brian was blessed with great dribbling skills, crosses and an eye for goal. The former Danish international featured in 82 between 1987-1998, finding the back of the net 21 times. The winger helped Denmark win the Euros in 1992. He was also a member of the 1998 squad that lost narrowly 3-2 to eventual finalists Brazil at the World Cup Finals in France. Laudrup played for many top clubs like Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Chelsea, amongst others.
5. Christian Eriksen
The Danish midfielder is one of the most talented players ever to come out of the country. Eriksen has so far featured 109 times for Denmark, scoring 36 times. Christian came to global prominence after suffering a heart attack during a Euro 2020 group stage match against Finland. Thankfully he survived that scare after timely treatment from medical staff and teammates. The 30-year-old has played for clubs like Ajax, Tottenham and Inter Milan. He is currently on the books of English Premier League side Brentford.
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6. Morten Olsen
Olsen is considered to be the most important player in the history of Danish football. Morten Olsen captained the Danish national team in 50 games during the 1980s and represented Denmark at the 1984 European Championship, 1986 FIFA World Cup, and 1988 European Championship. He began his international career with the national team as a right-winger but eventually settled as a defensive midfielder. After he retired, he became the head coach of the Denmark national team from 2000 until 2015. Olsen is one of the two people in football to play and manage 100 international matches for their national team.
7. Allan Simonsen
Allan Simonsen was one of the most prolific goal scorers in the Danish national team. Simonsen scored one of the most important goals in Danish football history when he converted a penalty kick against English goalkeeper Peter Shilton. The 1- 0 win gave the Danish national team qualification their first international tournament since the 1972 Olympic Games and the first European Championship participation since the 1964 tournament. Simonsen was capped 55 times, scoring 20 goals. Simonsen represented Denmark at the 1972 Summer Olympics, 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup tournaments. He is also the only footballer to have scored in the European Cup, UEFA Cup, and Cup Winners’ Cup finals. He is also the only ever Danish footballer to win the Ballon d’Or, which he won in 1977.
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8. Preben Elkjær Larsen
Regarded as one of Denmark’s greatest strikers of all time, Preben Elkjær Larsen’s international debut for Denmark’s senior side came in June 1977 at 19 years old. This was after he had scored 9 goals in as many games for Denmark’s U-21 side. Elkjær was then in his second season as a pro, and his only season at Koln of Germany. Known for his determined and aggressive style of play, Elkjær never gave up on a loose ball and harried defenders on a regular basis. His skill on the ball is underappreciated, as he was often silky when going past defenders. Elkjær’s right foot was venomous and possessed great power as well as accuracy. Nicknamed ‘The Mayor’ by some, he even finished as runner-up and in third place for the 1984 and ’85 Ballon d'Or awards. A Danish legend.
9. Thomas Sørensen
Thomas Løvendahl Sørensen is a retired Danish footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Sørensen started his career with his local side Odense BK. After impressing on loan at Vejle Boldklub and Svendborg he was signed by English side Sunderland in 1998. After five years as first-choice goalkeeper on Wearside, he joined Aston Villa for £2 million. He remained a regular for his time at Villa Park until a fall-out with manager Martin O'Neill saw him dropped and then released in May 2008. He then went to Stoke City, where he was first-choice goalkeeper for three seasons, helping the club consolidate in the Premier League. He then finished his playing career with a two-year spell at Australian club Melbourne City. He remains to date the Danish player with the most Premier league appearances (364 in total). Between 2000 and 2012, Sørensen was the starting goalkeeper for the Denmark national football team, the successor to the legendary Peter Schmeichel, and he played 101 matches for his country, making him their eighth- most capped player of all time. He was part of Denmark's UEFA Euro 2000, 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, and 2010 FIFA World Cup squads.
10. Kasper Peter Schmeichel
Kasper Peter Schmeichel is a Danish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Ligue 1 club Nice and the Denmark national team. Schmeichel began his career with Manchester City, but had loan spells with Darlington, Bury and Falkirk before he made his first-team debut. Although Schmeichel appeared to have made the city number 1 jersey his own at the start of the 2007–08 season, the emergence of Joe Hart resulted in Schmeichel being loaned to Cardiff City. The signing of Republic of Ireland international Shay Given in 2009 meant that Schmeichel fell even further down the pecking order at City, and he was allowed to link up with former manager Sven-Göran Eriksson at Notts County. He spent only one season with the Magpies as, while it was a very successful one for the club and the player himself, changes to the club's financial position made his departure necessary and his contract was terminated by mutual consent. Schmeichel joined Leeds United in 2010, but again, his tenure at the club would only last one season before he was the subject of a transfer to Leicester City, where he would again work under Eriksson. Schmeichel went on to make 479 competitive appearances for Leicester over 11 years, during the most successful era in the club's history, winning the Championship in the 2013–14 season, the Premier League in 2015–16, FA Cup in 2020–21 and the FA Community Shield in 2021. Schmeichel played seventeen games for Denmark under-21s. He was called up to the Denmark national team for the first time in 2011, and was part of their squad at UEFA Euro 2012, but did not make his senior debut until 2013. He represented his country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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