Tag Archives: Denmark

Preview: Euro 2020 Group B

Denmark

After failing to qualify for the 2016 Euros, the Danes will be looking to impress this time around. All three of their group stage matches will be played at the 38,000 capacity Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, giving them an extra advantage.

Denmark went unbeaten during qualification, finishing second in their group behind Switzerland. Their star player is undoubtedly Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen. The midfielder has scored 31 goals in 95 appearances for his country so far and his form will play a major part in determining how successful their campaign will be.

Captain Simon Kjær is also a vital player for the Scandinavians. The Sevilla centre-back has spent the season so-far on loan at Atalanta, and is likely to reach the 100 cap milestone during the championships next summer.


Parken Stadium in Copenhagen

One of Denmark’s most underrated squad members is 28-year-old midfielder Thomas Delaney, who has been one of the Bundesliga’s stand-out players in recent seasons. He joined Borussia Dortmund from Werder Bremen in 2018 and is a regular in Die Schwarzgelben’s midfield.

As well as being packed with experience, Denmark also have plenty of youth to call upon. Kasper Dolberg joined Nice from Ajax in the summer and the 22-year-old has already amassed 17 appearances for the Danes. 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Jacob Bruun Larsen made his debut last summer and will be pushing for a place in the squad, as will young Bournemouth midfielder Philip Billing, who is yet to win his maiden cap.

While Denmark’s recent record in the competition is not great, they famously won the Euros in 1992, despite failing to qualify. After Yugoslavia were kicked out, the Danes were selected to replace them, going on to beat Germany 2-0 in the final to create one of the most famous shocks in international football history.

Finland

Finland will compete at their first ever major tournament next summer, after finishing second behind Italy in their qualifying group. Considered the weakest side in the group, they will need to get off to a good start in their opening fixture, the Nordic derby against Denmark, to give themselves a chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Whilst their squad doesn’t contain many household names, one is Norwich striker Teemu Pukki. The 29-year-old was top scorer in the Championship last season as the Canaries won the title, and got off to a superb start in the Premier League, winning August’s Player of the Month award in a month which included him netting a hat-trick.

The Fins will be pinning much of their hopes upon Pukki to score the goals to bring them success at the tournament, but he is not the only talented player within their ranks. Former Arsenal midfielder Glen Kamara has impressed in Scotland since joining Rangers and will be a key part of their plans next summer.

Captain Tim Sparv is amongst their most experienced players, and the midfielder will face the country where he plays in their opening game, with the 32-year-old currently at Danish side Midtjylland. Goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecký is another of their more accomplished players; he joined Bayer Leverkusen from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018.

Belgium

Undoubtedly favourites to finish top of the group, and arguably to win the competition outright, Belgium have a squad stacked full of talent which they hope will help them improve on their previous European Championship performances.

Belgium reached the semi-finals in 1972 and the final in 1980, where they lost 2-1 to West Germany, but have only qualified for three tournaments between then and next summer’s competition. They will be looking to build upon both their performance in France 2016, where they reached the quarter-finals, and the 2018 World Cup where they secured a third placed finish.

Among the star names manager Roberto Martinez has to call upon are Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard.

De Bruyne has been nothing short of sensational since joining City from Wolfsburg in 2015 and will be looking to continue that form at Euro 2020. He has already featured in three major tournaments for the Red Devils and was named in the 2018 World Cup team of the tournament.

Real Madrid’s Hazard is another big name certain to be included in their squad. The captain, who moved to Madrid last summer following seven seasons at Chelsea, has also featured in three major tournaments and won the World Cup Silver Ball in 2018. He has won over 100 caps for his country, scoring 32 goals in the process.

Romelu Lukaku is arguably Belgium’s third most influential player. The striker, who left Manchester United to join Inter Milan last summer, boasts an incredible goal record in international football, scoring 52 goals in just 84 games. He has similarly played in the last three major tournaments for Belgium and scored four goals at the 2018 World Cup.

Belgium also boast an impressive crop of young talent, with perhaps none as impressive as Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans. He earned a permanent move to the Foxes for £40m last summer having impressed on a six-month loan spell from Monaco, and will surely have a big part to play in next summer’s tournament.

Belgium will open with a clash against Russia in St Petersburg; they also met in qualifying where Belgium won both their meetings en route to topping the group.

Russia

Russia, who qualified for the tournament after finishing second behind Belgium, will play two of their three group games at home in the 68,000 capacity Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg.

Competing as the Soviet Union, they won the first ever European Championships in France in 1960, which was followed by two final appearances and a semi-final. However, since competing as Russia, they have failed to get out of the group stage all bar once, when they reached the semi-finals in 2008.

Almost their entire squad play at home in the Russian Premier League, with just a few notable exceptions. One of these is Monaco midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, who joined the French side from CSKA Moscow in 2018. The 23-year-old is arguably Russia’s most talented player, and much of his nations hopes will rest upon his shoulders.

Golovin is not the only talent within the Russian squad, however. Valencia winger Denis Cheryshev was one of the stars of the 2018 World Cup, scoring four goals as Russia reached the quarter-final stages. The former Real Madrid player will be hoping to play another starring role and his goals will be crucial to determining how far they can go.

Russia’s main threat up front however will be 31-year-old striker Artem Dzyuba. The Zenit St Petersburg frontman has 24 goals in 42 appearances for his country, including three at the last World Cup and eight in qualification. While he might be getting on a bit, his physical presence will be no less of a threat next summer.

Group Fixtures:

June 13 – Denmark vs Finland – Copenhagen

June 13 – Belgium vs Russia – St Petersburg

June 17 – Denmark vs Belgium – Copenhagen

June 18 – Finland vs Russia – St Petersburg

June 22 – Russia vs Denmark – Copenhagen

June 22 – Finland vs Belgium – St Petersburg

Image Credits:

Featured image by Сергей Петров from Pixabay 

Copenhagen Stadium image by Валерий Дед for Creative Commons

Eriksen image by Дмитрий Неймырок/Dmitriy Neymyrok/Dmitrij Nejmyrok for Creative Commons

Sparv image by Petteri Lehtonen for Creative Commons

Belgium image by Эдгар Брещанов for Creative Commons

Russia image by Кирилл Венедиктов for Creative Commons

Cycle touring around Copenhagen

Few sensations are more soothing than the reassuring feel of a mild breeze on the back and the sound of tyres caressing a bicycle path as it meanders through the outskirts of beautiful Copenhagen. 

Before this summer’s holiday to Denmark, the last time I had climbed aboard a bicycle coincided with the last time I fell off one. Despite this mishap, I was eager to explore Copenhagen on two wheels.

The Danish capital remains the benchmark for cities around the world as they try to figure out how to take the bicycle seriously as a mode of transport.

With the beautiful medieval city centre streets and the unlimited access for cyclists to ride on, Copenhagen continues to inspire, but where did the Danish cycling craze start?

History

Denmark is the epitome of a bike-friendly country. The opening of the city’s first bike lane in 1892 saw cycling become hugely popular, and in just 15 years the number of bikes on its streets rose from 2,500 to 80,000.

By 1960, however, using cars had become the norm, which brought with it pollution and traffic-related accidents.

The real problem, however, was the international energy crisis in the early 1970s. For a country which at the time depended on imported oil for 92% of its energy, this was a major issue.

This meant that much of the country went green and bikes now seemed more than just a cheap exercise.

Throughout the 1980s, Denmark saw a bicycle renaissance. Individuals lobbied for the introduction of bike lanes in cities and since Copenhagen began to observe its cycling rates to see how many individuals were using bicycles in 1995, the continuous rise has been spectacular.

In 2004, 41% of Copenhagen commuted by bike and by 2010, it had reached 50%. Today, the country sets a gold-standard for renewable energy and efficiency.

Cycling in Copenhagen 

Copenhagen is a cyclist’s dream. Throughout my week there, I biked to restaurants and famous sights such as the Little Mermaid statue, and through the city’s most elegant parks and attractions like Tivoli Gardens, the world’s second oldest amusement park.

Biking around in Copenhagen is so relaxing, it almost felt like meditation. People in Denmark obey cycling’s etiquette, so an obvious factor in feeling assured and pedalling at a safe pace.

After hiring out my bicycle, what really struck me about cycling round Copenhagen was how seamlessly one could weave through the city without feeling vulnerable. Sometimes the ride to a new destination in the city was as enjoyable as reaching the destination itself.

Difficulties 

Despite the highs of my cycling experience in Denmark, I did experience moments of frustration, mainly down to my general unfamiliarity with the city. Being someone who doesn’t speak Danish apart from the word ‘Hej’ – hello – remembering street names was a difficult task.

Parts of the city were a bit of a labyrinth, too. This is, of course, mainly a problem for visitors, and there were plenty of times when, seeing my confused looks at road signs, helpful locals asked if I needed help. There is a reason why Denmark is officially the happiest nation in the world.

Danish drivers were very patient with minor cycling indiscretions that would have caused road rage in London. Nothing in the city was hurried, and the main difference I observed from cycling in London is that in Denmark, cycling is an incredibly social way to get around.

I came across many friends and families cycling with one another and this is important for making a mode of transport more appealing.

The country’s wide cycle lanes mean people can ride side by side and despite the overcrowding at times, it is one of the most amazing things to witness.

Cycling and pollution 

It is common knowledge that cycling in polluted air is harmful to people’s health, but does that mean you shouldn’t cycle because of pollution?

If there is a cleaner alternative the answer is yes, but if the alternative is to drive or use bus, cycling is not necessarily the worst alternative.

Cyclists are exposed to pollutants more than car drivers – however studies have shown that the concentration of pollutants at rush hours is substantially larger inside cars than outside.

The reason for this is that cars’ air intake is close to the exhaust of the car in front, so depending on the relative speed and volume of air taken in per minute, cyclists may not be exposed to a higher amount of pollutants over the same distance.

Health benefits

If the thought of experiencing a capital city on two wheels is daunting, Copenhagen will help you conquer your fears, and as the cycling craze intensifies, so do the health benefits.

Cycling may save money and help the environment, but its biggest benefit is for health, and as a low-impact form of exercise, it is easier on the joints than running.

My view of cycling across central Copenhagen

The capital region of Denmark estimates that the city’s high cycling levels save one million fewer sick days per year and regular bike riding contributes to increased cardiovascular health and decreases in stress and obesity.

Visit Denmark 

If cycling is your thing, you would be hard-pressed to find a better-equipped destination than Denmark. With over 12,000km of signposted cycle routes, eye-catching scenery and short distances between amenities, the place is made for pedal-powered travel.

Copenhagen leads the way and the rest of Denmark follows. Cycling networks have allowed cities such as Odense to reinvent themselves as eco-friendly destinations, while Bornholm has made a huge transition from a simple beach escape once, to a place that boasts 150 miles of cycling routes.

Denmark has many cities to visit and cycle from and it is safe and great fun. So get on your bike and pedal away to take a cycling holiday in Denmark because it will be the most enticing thing you will ever try!

Click here to learn more about cycling in Denmark.