The momentous clash is already the biggest game played between the two nations by default as they’ve never met at this stage of a tournament. Denmark’s pedigree at the Euros is better than England’s by virtue of them winning the competition back in 1992 and they have become every neutral’s favourite team following the distressing incident involving Christian Eriksen in their first game.
Denmark’s win in 1992 means that they have done two things that England have never done: win a Euros and also win a Euros semi-final. Indeed, England has never reached the Euros final – a burden they could lay to rest on Wednesday night in a game they are favourites to win. Denmark will not be easy though and have scored 10 goals in their past three games and are a tough and physical team with more than a few players who could cause England problems.
This is all in the present though. What about the past? Here are five memorable past meetings between England and Denmark.
England 5 Denmark 2 – December 5, 1956, World Cup qualifier
England made an assured start to their 1958 World Cup qualifying campaign, despite throwing away a two-goal lead in a lively game at Molineux. A couple of months earlier, the Danes had been beaten by the Republic of Ireland and they fell behind to two goals from Thomas Taylor but drew level courtesy of Ove Bech Nielsen’s quickfire brace. However, Taylor completed his hat-trick after half-time before Manchester United team-mate Duncan Edwards bagged a brace to add gloss to the scoreline. England would qualify for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden where they failed to get out of their group after drawing all three matches against Brazil, the Soviet Union and Austria respectively.
Denmark 2 England 2 – September 22, 1982, European Championship qualifier
After succeeding Ron Greenwood in the England hot seat after being dumped out in the second group stage of the 1982 World Cup, Sir Bobby Robson started his tenure with a European Championship qualifier at the Idraetspark in Copenhagen. Despite Robson having a beloved and memorable run as England match, his first game in charge wouldn’t have been how the legendary figure would have envisioned his time as manager beginning. An emerging Denmark side was on the front foot for much of the contest but Trevor Francis twice put England in front. However, Allan Hansen equalised for the first time from the spot after Russell Osman upended Jesper Olsen, who then ensured the spoils would be shared with a fine solo goal in time added-on.
Denmark 0 England 0 – June 11, 1992, European Championship
Denmark were given a route into Euro 92 through the back door after Yugoslavia’s disqualification because of the country’s dissolution and subsequent warfare in the region. Richard Moller Nielsen’s side contained the likes of Peter Schmeichel, John Jensen and Brian Laudrup and this is, of course, the tournament where they would go on to win the Euros in one of the biggest upsets in football history, beating heavyweights like the Netherlands and Germany en route. However, you wouldn’t have guessed that from their first which was a drab goalless draw against Graham Taylor’s England, denied a late winner when John Jensen’s strike hit a post at the Malmo Stadion in Sweden.
Denmark 0 England 3 – June 15, 2002, World Cup
From an England perspective, this is easily the most famous victory over Denmark. Occurring in the last 16 round of the 2002 World Cup in Japan, Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team grew in belief as that respective tournament went on, with this being their most comprehensive result that summer. An early own goal from Danish keeper Thomas Sorensen (to this day, Rio Ferdinand still disputes that it was his goal) in Niigata gave England the lead with further goals from Michael Owen and Emile Heskey putting the Three Lions 3-0 up at half-time. England’s dreams were short-lived though as they lost to the eventual champions Brazil in the quarter-finals.
England 0 Denmark 1 – October 14, 2020, Uefa Nations League
Now for the most recent game between the two nations and it doesn’t make for pretty reading for England. Harry Maguire may currently be the toast of the town but just a few months ago, he was in something of a tailspin as his arrest in Greece last summer was followed by a poor start to the season. Events seemed to come to a head when he was sent off in this Nations League tie for two bookable offences inside the first 31 minutes at Wembley. The deciding moment of the game came moments later when Christian Eriksen celebrated his 100th cap by scoring a controversial penalty, awarded after Kyle Walker was harshly adjudged to have fouled Thomas Delaney in an attempt to clear the ball. England’s frustrations boiled over at the final whistle as Chelsea youngster Reece James, who was making his debut, was also sent off. A night to forget for England but a result the Danes will be hoping to see a sequel of.
Bonus: Great Britain 4 - 2 Denmark, 4 July 1912, Olympic football final
This is from more than 100 years ago and isn’t technically England so we can forgive you if you’ve never heard of this match. That being Great Brtain’s 1912 Olympic football team were all English, something that surely wouldn’t be allowed today, and they cruised to the gold medal. In just three games GB scored 15 goals against Hungary, Finland and Denmark respectively, including a 4-2 in the final? Maybe Southgate should show this game to the squad so they can channel the spirit on 1912 again, right? Right?
England beats Denmark 4 - 2! Albeit in the football final of the 1912 Olympic Games… The 1912 GB Olympic football t… https://t.co/7deG97jzB6