Friday, December 12, 2014

Denmark Greatest All-time 23 member team




Denmark 1992 European Champion

This is my all-time team for DenmarkIf there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Before the 1978, football in Denmark remained an amateur sport.  They had done well at the Olympics winning medals at 1908,1912, 1948 and 1960. They also took a 4th place at the 1964 European Championship, but their run was helped by playing easy opponents until the semifinal.  Then, in the 1980's, Danish football finally arrived.  Nicknamed "Danish Dynamite", Denmark was an explosive team.  At the Euro 1984 Finals, they destroyed Yugoslavia 5-0 before losing to Spain in the semifinal.  Two years later, they went to Mexico 1986 with a team led by Preben Elkjaer and Golden Boy Michael Laudrup.  They swept their group matches by thrashing Uruguay 6-1 and a notable 2-1 win against West Germany.  Denmark was the most exciting team up to that point of the tournament and became the dark horse.  However, at the round of 16, Denmark was again beaten by Spain in which Emilio Butragueño scored 4 goals.  

After the WC Finals in 1986, Denmark entered a period of poor results.  That included failing to qualify for Euro 1992.  However, Yugoslavia was banned because of the war back home.  Denmark was a last minute replacement for the Euro 1992 Finals in Sweden.  They were ill-prepared for the tournament.  Their best player Michael Laudrup also refused to play for the team because of disagreement with coach Richard Møller Nielsen.  However, in Sweden, Denmark beat the last three European champion: France, Holland and Germany and won the tournament with Peter Schmeichel as the star.  

Denmark would also qualify for the WC in 1998 and 2002, and the European Championship in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2012, but they only managed to reach the quarterfinal in 1998 and 2004.
World Cup 1986 Danish Dynamite

Team
GK: Peter Schmeichel 
Peter Schmeichel was regarded as one of the greatest keeper of all-time. He was voted the "World's Best Goalkeeper" in 1992 and 1993. He is best remembered for his most successful years at Manchester United, whom he captained to the 1999 UEFA Champions League to complete the Treble.  He is also the most capped player for  Denmark, with 129 games between 1987 and 2001, winning the Euro 92.   
Peter Schmeichel 
GK: Henry From
Henry From played 31 games for the Denmark national football team, and won a silver medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He was the backup keeper at the 1952 Summer Olympics. He spent his entire club career at Aarhus Gymnastik Forening, with whom he won four Danish football championships and four Danish Cups. He helped AGF reach the quarter-finals of the 1961 European Cup, where they were defeated by S.L. Benfica from Portugal.

GK: Thomas Sørensen
Thomas Sørensen played 101 matches for his country. He was part of Denmark's 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, and 2010 FIFA World Cup squads. He played 16 seasons in the English Premiership. Starting in 1998, he playing for Sunderland, Aston Villa and Stoke City before moving over to play in Australia with Melbourne City FC.

RB: Thomas Helveg
The most prominent period of his career was his five years with  AC Milan, with whom he won the 1999 Serie A championship and 2003 UEFA Champions League tournament. He was named 1994 Danish Player of the Year.  He has participated in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 European Championship and the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cup tournaments. He also played for Udinese, Inter Milan, Norwich City and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

RB: Johnny Hansen  
Johnny Hansen most notably played six years for Bayern Munich, where he won three European Cups and three Bundesliga. He was named 1967 Danish Player of the Year. He also played for local top-flight club Vejle Boldklub and 1. FC Nürnberg.  He only 45 caps for Denmark because Denmark did not select professional footballers.

CB: Daniel Agger
Daniel Agger earned over 60 caps and played for Denmark at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.  He most notably played for Liverpool, where he was a UEFA Champions' league runner-up. He was named as the Danish Player of the Year in 2007 and 2012. He started his career with Brøndby and returned there in 2014.

CB: Morten Olsen 
Morten Olsen was one of the greatest Danish players ever.  He 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 was named Danish Player of the Year in1983 and 1986. For his club career, he won the 1983 UEFA Cup with Anderlecht. He also played for Cercle Brugge K.S.V., Koln, etc.
Morten Olsen 
SW/CB: Per Røntved
Per Røntved was at one point the cap record for Denmark before Morten Olsen broke it.  He was named 1972 Danish Player of the Year.  He played professionally for German club SV Werder Bremen from 1972 to 1979. He also played for Danish clubs Brønshøj BK, Randers Freja, and Hvidovre IF.

CB: Ivan Nielsen
Ivan Nielsen was most prominently played professionally for Dutch clubs Feyenoord Rotterdam and PSV Eindhoven, winning the European Cup with PSV with Frank Arnesen and Jan Heintze. He was capped 51 times and represented Denmark at 1986 World Cup and two European Championship tournaments(1984 and 1988)

LB: Bent Hansen
He won a silver medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He was at one point the cap record holder for Denmark and the first player to break the 50 caps barrier.  He stayed as an amateur player after the Olympics, despite offers from a Serie A club. Hansen continued to represent Denmark as they finished fourth at the 1964 European Nations' Cup

LB: Jan Heintze
Heintze played with PSV Eindhoven, winning the European Cup in 1988.  He also played for Bayer Uerdingen and Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. He played 86 matches for Denmark between 1987 and 2002, but missed the 1992 European Championship because of an injury.  He was their captain for his last two years with the national team.
Jan Heintze
DM: Nils Middelboe 
He represented the Denmark at the 1908, 1912 and 1920 Summer Olympics, winning silver medals in 1908 and 1912. He was the first ever goalscorer for the Danish national football team, when he scored in Denmark's debut game at the 1908 Summer Olympics. In 1913, he moved abroad to play for Chelsea, and became the first foreign player to ever represent the club.

CM: Soren Lerby
Lerby was most prominently played professionally for Dutch clubs Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, winning five Eredivisie championships with Ajax and the 1988 European Cup with PSV.  He also played for Bayern Munich and AS Monaco. He had 67 caps. He was a key member of the Euro 1984 and the 1986 World Cup team that dazzled the world.
Soren Lerby
CM: Jan Molby
Jan Molby won 33 caps for Denmark from 1982 to 1990, scoring two goals. He was a key member of  the "Dynamite" Denmark which lit up the 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup.  He notably spent twelve years playing in England with Liverpool between 1984 and 1996. He also played for  Kolding, Ajax and Swansea.
 
RW/AM/SS: Brian Laudrup
Michael's younger brother. He won the Danish Footballer of the Year award a record four times.  He played 82 games and scored 21 goals for Denmark, and was a key player of the Danish teams who won the Euro 1992 and 1995 Confederations cup. For club football, he played Brondy, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Forientina, Ajax, Chelsea, etc.  He was probably remembered as a member of Glasgow Rangers.
Brian Laudrup
LW: Karl Aage Praest 
Karl Aage Praest  won a bronze medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics.  His international career was limited to his status as a professional player after he joined Juventus in 1948.  He won the 1949-50 and 1951-52 Serie A championships.  He is a Danish Football Hall of Fame inductee.

ST/LW: John Hansen
Hansen was capped 8 times, scoring 10 goals. He started his career with Copenhagen club BK Frem in the amateur-only Danish league. After winning a bronze medal at the 1948 Olympics, he turned professional and joined Juventus, ending his amateur status and international career.  His international career was only a single year in 1948. He was the top scorer in Serie A for the 1949-1950 season. He joined Lazio in 1954. He was capped 8 times scoring 10 goals.

AM/FW: Michael Laudrup 
Michael Laudrup  was the Golden Boy of the "Dynamite" Denmark at the WC in 1986.  He is regarded as Denmark's greatest offensive players.  In 1999, he was voted the Best Foreign Player in Spanish Football over the preceding 25-year period.  He won five straight La Liga titles 4 with Barcelona and then, one more with Real Madrid. He also played with Brondby, Lazio, Juventus, Kobe Vessels and Ajax.
Michael Laudrup 
ST: Preben Elkjaer Larsen
Preben Elkjaer Larsen was a star of the "Dynamite" Denmark at the WC in 1986, winning the Bronze Ball award. In 1985, he was akey player as Hellas Verona won its first ever scudetti, in an era where Serie A was considered the most competiative in the world and Verona was a small club. Elkjær finished second in the European Footballer of the Year awards in 1985, having placed third the previous year.

FW: Henning Jensen
In 1972, Henning Jensen joined Borussia Mönchengladbach. At Mönchengladbach, Henning Jensen played alongside fellow Danish national team player Allan Simonsen in the attack. He won the 1972–73 DFB-Pokal, 1974–75 UEFA Cup, and two Bundesliga championships in his four years at the club. He earned a big move to Real Madrid in 1976.  He also played with Nørresundby BK, Ajax and AGF.
Henning Jensen

ST: Pauli Jorgensen 
In 1971, Pauli Jørgensen was honoured as the Danish football player who had meant the most for the game of football in Denmark during the first 50 years by the Danish Football Association. In 1939, he set a record 47 international games played for Denmark. The record stood for 22 years.

ST: Harald Nielsen
He is best remembered for his years at Bologna during the 1960's.  He was the Serie A top-scorer in 1961 where Bologna won the league title.  He won a silver medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics and finished as the top scorer of the Games.  However, Denmark banned professionals from playing for its national team.  He made his national team debut at the age of 17, the youngest ever.  He played his last match for Denmark as a 19 years old.

RW/SS/ST: Allan Simonsen
He most prominently played for Borussia Mönchengladbach, winning the 1975 and 1979 UEFA Cups, as well as for Barcelona, winning the 1982 Cup Winners' Cup.  He is the only footballer to have scored in the European Cup, UEFA Cup, and Cup Winners' Cup finals. Simonsen was named 1977 European Footballer of the Year.  he was a part of Denmark's Euro 1984 team, but was injured after the first game.  By 1986, he was an aging player and played in one match at the WC Finals.
Allan Simonsen


Honorable Mention
Ebbe Sand, Frank Arnesen, Troels Rasmussen, Jasper Olsen, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Flemming Povlsen, Thomas Gravesen, Lars Olsen, Ole Madsen, Kasper Schmeichel, Christian Eriksen.

Squad Explanation
-- I included many players from the "Dynamite" Denmark of the 1980's.  However, I did not have space for Troels Rasmussen.
-- Only two members of the 1992 team, Peter Schmeichel and Brian Laudrup, were selected for this squad.  Instead, I took a lot of older players who were considered pioneers in Denmark.  
-- Michael Laudrup, Jan Mølby and Jan Heintze did go to Sweden 92, despite being in their prime. 
-- Lars Olsen got credit for captaining the Euro 1992 team, but not enough to win a spot on the team. His club career counted against him. Instead, I took Daniel Agger who  had a better club career.
-- Frank Arnesen is the biggest name missing on my team. I just could not find spaces for him.
-- Pauli Jorgensen was the all-time leading scorer for Denmark for 22 years.
-- Nils Middelboe was one of the first Danish players to play overseas.  He was Chelsea's first ever foreign player.
-- The last two spots were between Harald Nielsen, John Hansen and Jon Dahl Tomasson. Tomasson was mainly a backup with AC Milan.  While he was very successful, both Nielsen and Hansen were top scorers in Italy. John Hansen was probably one of the top players in Serie A during the 1950's.
-- Kasper Schmeichel made honorable mention after the World Cup Finals in 2018, in whch he led Denmark to the second round.  He also helped Leicester Town to their surprise Premiership.

Starting lineup
Formation I: 3-5-2  
The 3-5-2 formation is based upon the one used by the "Dynamite" Denmark and Sepp Piontek in 1986.
-- Morten Olsen played as the libero as he did in 1986. Lerby also stayed in the same position.
-- Praest would play Jesper Olsen's role on the left.  
--Klaus Berggreen was liked a shutter in 1986 who also helped the defense.  Brian Laudrup was more offensive-minded. 
 --Michael Laudrup played upfront in 1986 . For this team, I used him as a playmaker, a position he mastered in his career.
-- Simonsen passed his prime in 1986.  So he did not play much.  But for this team, he is the best forward in Denmak's history.  He must start upfront.



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