Denmark and Finland will look to kick-start the UEFA Euro 2024 qualification campaign when they meet at the Parken Stadium on Thursday.

International football resumes for the first time since the 2022 FIFA World Cup following a break of three months. The action at the club level pauses for ten days as the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers begin in Europe. And Denmark will be one of the teams featuring on Thursday as they welcome Finland to the Parken Stadium.

Denmark started last year superbly and seemed to be one of the dark horses at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. That outlook was hardly surprising, considering they also reached the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-finals. But the Red and Whites were disappointing in Qatar, failing to win any of their three games, losing two of them. However, they are in a favourable group for UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers.

On the other hand, Finland’s campaign in 2022 ended in November as they did not qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They were last in competitive action in the UEFA Nations League in September. And Markku Kanerva will be optimistic about his team’s chances after a 2-0 win in that fixture.

Denmark and Finland last met in a competitive setting two years ago at UEFA Euro 2020, a game infamous for Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest. And Finland won that game 1-0, with Joel Pohjanpalo’s 60th-minute strike. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Kasper Hjulmand has had to omit several pivotal figures from his squad heading into the first international break of 2023. And Denmark’s squad has also seen a late change, with Victor Kristiansen dropping out.

Some of the other notable absentees are Christian Eriksen (ankle), Jesper Lindstrom (ankle), Andreas Skov Olsen (hip) and Kasper Dolberg (head). Lindstrom has not undergone surgery on his injured ankle but will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.

So Hjulmand will have to name a weakened starting eleven when Denmark and Finland meet on Thursday. But first-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will be an automatic pick between the sticks, with the hosts lining up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in front of him.

Simon Kjaer will marshall the backline, playing the sweeper role in the central defensive unit. And Joachim Andersen and Andreas Christensen should join the Denmark captain at the back. Meanwhile, Jens Stryger Larsen and Joakim Maehle will be the two wing-backs.

The wide duo will carry much of the creative workload and provide width in the final third. The pair’s creative freedom means the two central midfielders — Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Christian Norgaard — will be primarily defensive-minded in their approach on Thursday. They will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park and provide an extra layer of protection to the backline.

Eriksen and Lindstrom’s absence means Martin Braithwaite and Mikkel Damsgaard will likely play the support role for the central striker. Finally, Rasmus Hojlund should spearhead the attack versus Finland on Thursday.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Schmeichel; Andersen, Kjaer, Christensen; Stryger Larsen, Hojbjerg, Norgaard, Maehle; Braithwaite, Damsgaard; Hojlund


Markku Kanerva has not sprung many surprises with his latest squad selection, with Finland being at full strength. Sauli Vaisanen, Daniel O’Shaughnessy, and Jere Uronen are the only notable absentees for the visitors.

Kanerva should line his team up in a 3-5-2 formation, with captain Lukas Hradecky taking his spot between the sticks. And a central defensive unit of Arttu Hoskonen, Richard Jensen, and Robert Ivanov will protect Hradecky.

Pyry Soiri and Ilmari Niskanen should be the two wing-backs for Finland. But considering the two players are primarily wingers, they will not have much defensive responsibility. And they will instead look to be the chief creators for Finland from the flanks against Denmark.

Niilo Maenpaa, Glen Kamara, and Rasmus Schuller will form the central midfield unit. Schuller will sit at the base of the midfield unit, with Maenpaa and Kamara supporting him defensively. Finally, Teemu Pukki and Joel Pohjanpalo will be the two strikers for Finland against Denmark.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Hradecky; Jensen, Hoskonen, Ivanov; Soiri, Maenpaa, Schuller, Kamara, Niskanen; Pukki, Pohjanpalo

Key Stats

  • Denmark and Finland have faced each other 59 times, with the Red and Whites having a superior head-to-head record (W38 D9 L12).
  • Denmark have lost only two of their last 23 meeting against Finland, winning 15 and drawing six.
  • Six of the most recent nine meetings between Denmark and Finland have featured one goal or less.
  • Denmark have failed to score a first-half goal in six of their most recent nine games.
  • Denmark have won just one of their most recent five games. On the other hand, Finland have won just one of their last eight matches.

Player to Watch

Rasmus Hojlund

Embed from Getty Images

Our pick for this section features the rising star of Danish football. Rasmus Hojlund is still cutting his teeth on the international stage, making just two appearances thus far. But amid his breakout in Serie A, the 20-year-old has attracted a few top clubs.

Meanwhile, the absence of a few pivotal figures allows Hojlund the opportunity to make his mark in the two games this month. And beating a rival team like Finland will be the perfect way to stamp his authority. Expect Hojlund to rise to the occasion this week.


Denmark 1-0 Finland

There is not much to separate the two teams heading into the game at the Parken Stadium. The hosts are without several instrumental figures who are injured. So Finland will sniff the opportunity to spring a surprise.

But Denmark will unlikely concede many chances and should be relatively comfortable at the back. And as the minutes wear on, Rasmus Hojlund or Mikkel Damsgaard should deliver the goods for the home side. The Hard Tackle thus predicts a 1-0 win for Kasper Hjulmand and his charges.

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