The Journeyman | Great Dane – Part 2: European Championship Qualifying

Denmark were feeling quietly confident about appearing at Euro 2032 after being handed a qualification group alongside Scotland, Poland, Kosovo, Malta and the Faroe Islands.

Euro qualifiers round 1

The qualification bid began at home to the Faroe Islands, and we began with a performance of absolute domination. We racked up 35 shots in the first-half of our first match, leading the Faroes 4-0 at the break with Jacob Frandsen’s first goal for his country, a screamer from star midfielder Klavs Storm, and both strikers Kasper Voss Eslund and Jonas Wind.

The dominance continued after half-time with both strikers completing hat-tricks and brilliantly named midfielder Kalifa Fatty getting his first goal for Denmark to wrap up a 9-0 victory. Not a bad way to start qualification!

There were plenty of goals elsewhere as Poland beat Malta 5-0 and Scotland thrashed Kosovo 6-0.

I was hopeful of another strong performance in our second game away to Malta. And the boys delivered with a 6-0 thumping led by a superb 4 goals and an assist from Wind, which takes him to 36 international goals – which is well short of Christian Eriksen’s all-time record of 53. Storm and Voss Eslund also scored, while Andreas Skov Olsen claimed a hat-trick of assists.

Elsewhere, Scotland – who may be better than I expected – put 11 past the Faroes away from home and Poland edged past Kosovo 21.

Euro qualifiers round 2

The next round of qualifiers began with probably the toughest game of the group as we faced Poland away. I went to a more defensive formation, which enabled us to just about deal with what Poland threw at us – although we were lucky that Krzyzstof Piatek’s late goal was ruled offside. And we saw it through for a 0-0 draw.

Another away day followed as we made the trip to Kosovo and we continued our streak of not conceding in the group. We also managed to get a few goals with Voss Eslund continuing his fine form to international football with a brace that takes him to 7 goals in 8 games. His strike partner Wind got the other goal in a 3-0 win that was blighted by Mark Knudsen Brinksby getting sent off in the second half.

That left us in second place in the group, only behind Scotland – who’ve scored 25 goals in 4 matches – on goal difference. And we face Scotland next as the qualifiers resume in September.

Euro qualifiers round 3

We went into that big game at home to Scotland with a huge amount of injuries – one of which saw us have to remove Wind despite him having recovered by the time of the second match in this round.

But we did well to come extremely close to a vital win. Scotland took the lead early on but we bounced back with a great strike from Voss Eslund then Skov Olsen converted a second-half penalty. Scotland then had a last-minute equaliser disallowed before then scoring one that stood in injury-time. It was a little cruel, but the strong Scotland side definitely deserved something from the game.

Next up was a trip over to the Faroe Islands and another demolition job in which we racked up 40 shots. However, we ‘only’ scored 5, with goal difference looking crucial in this group. Voss Eklund led the way with a hat-trick that took him to 11 goals in 10 caps and 20-year-old Brondby striker Martin Outzen came on to score on his debut.

With 4 games remaining in the group, things could not be tighter at the top with us, Scotland and Poland all tied on 14 points and separated by goal difference. But we still had to go to Scotland and host Poland, while Poland entertained Scotland in the final group game.

Euro qualifiers round 4

The penultimate round of games began by welcoming Malta, and we somehow only won 2-0 despite having 31 shots. While I have to be happy with winning, this lack of cutting edge could come to haunt us at the end of the season. However, it was nice to see Knudsen Brinksby score both goals.

Then a huge game saw us make the short trip over to table-topping at the same time as Poland hosted Faroe Islands. We did really well to nullify Scotland’s attack and basically bore them to death to earn a 0-0 draw. Unsurprisingly, Poland thumped the Faroes 8-0.

That leaves us in 3rd place heading into the final round of games next month (November 2031) in which we will host Poland and Kosovo, while Poland then host Scotland. So it should be a very tense conclusion!

Euro qualifiers round 5

Our penultimate qualifier was a huge one up against Poland. And the boys – well, one of the boys at least – came up with a huge performance. Midfielder Storm scored a screamer to put us ahead on 16 minutes, they got level 4 minutes later, but Storm repeated the feat with another long-range strike to seal a massive 2-1 win.

That moved us up into second place in the group, level on points with Scotland and a much worse goal difference. We, therefore, had to beat Kosovo at home and hope Scotland would slip up away to Poland.

We started well against Kosovo, winning a penalty that Wind converted after 9 minutes. As he did that, Piatek also scored a penalty for Poland, so as it stood we were heading for the Euros. Wind’s strike partner Voss Eslund doubled the lead on 37 minutes and we were looking good – especially as Poland had raced into a 30 lead.

Our domination continued after the break racking up 32 shots to their 3 – but somehow Kosovo got a goal back because… of course they did. But thankfully we held on to secure a far too narrow 2-1 win. Poland went on to thump Scotland 4-1, which meant we topped the group for the first time at the most important time. While Scotland, who’d been top throughout, were knocked out!

Denmark were heading to Euro 2032!

Voss Eklund finished as the joint 4th top scorer in the tournament with 11 goals, behind Swiss striker Julian von Moos (who is a real player) on 14 and Joshua Zirkee, Italy striker Cristiano Bertoletti and Scotland’s Josh Taylor on 12. Skov Olsen had the 5th-most assists of 7 and midfielder Nick Granskov had the 2nd most key passes with 30 from just 6 appearances, well behind Sander Maas’ 39 in 9 matches.

Join us next time as we unveil our Euro 2032 group and move into the European Championships!

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