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The Denmark national football team is controlled by the Danish Football Association and has represented the country of Denmarkmarker in international football competitions since 1908. The team has been a solidly competitive side in international football since the mid-1980s, with the triumph in the 1992 European Championships (Euro 1992) tournament as its most prominent victory, beating the the European champions in the semi-final, and the world champions in the final . They also won the Confederations Cup in 1995 defeating Argentina 2–0 in the final match.

On October 10, 2009, Denmark qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by winning their qualification group with a victory over Sweden.


Apart from the men's senior team, Denmark competes with a women's national team, and has teams at various youth levels for both men and women, most prominently the under-21 national team. Additionally, there is a league national team, or B-team, of the best players from the domestic Danish Superliga, playing official games in the winter break of the national league, as well as an old-boys national team. Historically, the team competed in the Summer Olympics until and including the 1988 tournament, whereafter Olympic games count as under-21 national games.


Amateur years

Denmark won an unofficial victory in the 1906 Intercalated Olympics, and finished second in their first official tournament, the 1908 Olympics, an achievement copied four years later in the 1912 Olympics. Although Denmark figured fairly prominently in the pre-World Cup era, international success would elude them for years from the first World Cup in 1930 and forward. Despite the country's ability to produce outstanding footballing talent, a bronze medal in the 1948 Olympics was the only result of note in 50 years. As football remained an amateur pastime, most of the best Danish footballers moved abroad to make a living, and foreign-based professionals were barred from the national team, in common with other Scandinavian countries.

In the 1960s, Denmark had a revival with a third set of Olympic silver at the 1960 Olympics, though the most notable performance was fourth place in the Euro 1964. Denmark took advantage of a comparatively easy draw, as they beat Malta and Luxembourg before losing to the USSR in the semi-final and Hungary in the bronze match. The national team rule of amateurism was abolished in 1971, which led to a vast improvement in the Danish team's performances. In 1978, professional football was introduced to the Danish leagues, which prompted the first sponsorship of the national team by Danish brewery Carlsberg, enabling the team to hire full-time coach Sepp Piontek from Germanymarker in 1979.

Danish Dynamite

In the 1982 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Denmark finished with 8 points from as many games, including a 3–1 win against eventual World Cup champions Italy, but Denmark failed to qualify for the final tournament despite the impressive result. Qualification for the Euro 1984 saw the team beat England at Wembley Stadiummarker when Allan Simonsen converted a penalty kick for a 1–0 win. Denmark qualified for their first international tournament since 1964, and the team was dubbed "Danish Dynamite" in a competition for the official Danish Euro 1984 song. Denmark's participation ended in the semi-final when the team lost on penalties to Spain, most remembered for Preben Elkjær's penalty miss, his shorts torn apart. Following the strong performance at the finals, the name of "Danish Dynamite" became a mainstay for the following decade of Danish national team football under coach Piontek.
Denmark made their first World Cup appearance in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, and with the attacking duo of Michael Laudrup and Preben Elkjær the team surprised the world, sweeping the group, including a 6–1 thrashing of Uruguay. In the second round Denmark once again faced Spain, and once more Denmark lost out. The team received a trashing of their own, losing 5–1, including four goals by Emilio Butragueño. The first Spanish goal was caused by a miss-timed backpass by Jesper Olsen to Butragueño, an unfortunate action subsequently coined as "a real Jesper Olsen" (en rigtig Jesper Olsen). The phrase would live on for 13 years when an identical backpass was carried out by Jesper Grønkjær to Filippo Inzaghi in Grønkjær's 1999 debut game.

After the glory days of 1986 came a period of transition with faltering results. The Euro 1988 tournament ended in early defeat as Denmark lost the group games to Spain, Germany, and Italy. When Denmark failed to qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup Sepp Piontek was replaced by his assistant coach Richard Møller Nielsen.

1992 European Champions

Denmark's finest hour in the international competitions came in the Euro 1992. The Danes initially failed to qualify, as they trailed Yugoslavia in their qualifying group. Michael Laudrup, the star of the team, decided to quit the national team during the qualification matches, following tactical differences with Coach Nielsen. However, due to international sanctions resulting from the Yugoslav wars, Yugoslavia was barred from the tournament, and Denmark entered as the second-placed team in its group. Contrary to popular belief the team did not rally home from seaside vacations to compete, as the majority of players were already assembled to play a friendly match with the CIS when Denmark officially got the spot at the tournament.

Relying heavily on goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and his defense, as well as creative spark Brian Laudrup, the Danish team created one of the biggest surprises in the event's history, as they went on to win the European Championship trophy under coach Richard Møller Nielsen's defensive playing style. Advancing from the group stage ahead of England and France, Denmark beat the Dutch defending Euro 1988 champions on penalties in the semi-final, and with the 2–0 win against reigning 1990 FIFA World Cup champions Germany in the final, Denmark had won its first trophy.

Following the Euro 1992 win, Michael Laudrup revived his national team career in 1993. The following years Denmark saw mixed results as they failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, before securing a King Fahd Cup win, beating Copa América champions Argentina in 1995. As defending champions at the Euro 1996, Denmark disappointed with a lacklustre performance and the team was eliminated in the group stage. As controversy had occurred over the prolonging of Richard Møller Nielsen's contract in fall 1995, including a strained relationship with the press, he was let go. The new coach was the sympathetic Swedemarker Bo "Bosse" Johansson, who gave the team a more offensive strategy, and the 1998 FIFA World Cup saw the revival of the Danish team, starring both Laudrup brothers in their last international campaign. After beating Saudi Arabia 1–0, drawing with South Africa and losing 2–1 to later champions France in mediocre games the Danish team qualified to the knockout stages as second in the group. In the next game however Denmark played some of the best football of the tournament beating Nigeria 4–1 and thus qualified to the quarterfinals against Brazil. The Danes went out with a beautiful 2–3 defeat to the later silver medalists in a very close and emotional game. Following yet another disappointing European Championship in the Euro 2000, with many players selected for the squad despite injuries and poor form, "Bosse" decided not to prolong his contract.

The Olsen Gang

The new coach turned out to be the former national team captain from the successful team of the 1980s, Morten Olsen, and the team was quickly dubbed the "Olsen Gang", a reference to the series of Danish movies based around the main character Egon Olsen and his genius (criminal) plans. The nickname was also used for the Danish team when Olsen captained it. Under Olsen, who brought with him great experience from among others Ajax Amsterdam, Denmark's tactics shifted to an even more attacking style, with an emphasis on the speedy wingers available to him at the time, namely Jesper Grønkjær and Dennis Rommedahl, and Olsen stressed the importance of only using fit and on-form players in the team - a principle that he's later been forced to go back on somewhat, as the player material available in such a relatively small nation doesn't always provide many realistic options.

Denmark qualified both for the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2004, but despite impressive results in the group stage in both tournaments, especially the 2–0 win against reigning World Cup winners France in 2002, Denmark were defeated in the first post-group stage round in both tournaments. The Euro 2004 will be best remembered for an incident in the game with Italy, where Italian star Francesco Totti was caught on camera by a Danish cameraman, spitting on Danish player Christian Poulsen, and the joint elimination of Italy by Denmark and Sweden in the last group stage match when the two teams drew 2–2 following a Swedish goal in the 89th minute, making for the exact and famous result that would see the Italians eliminated.

Olsen's reign of the Danish national team has been the most successful in the time of professional coaches. As of March 2006, Morten Olsen has a winning share of 58,7%, and with three points for a victory and one for a draw, Olsen has an average of 2,03 points per game. In comparison, Richard Møller Nielsen had a 54,8% winning share and a 1,89 point average, and especially Olsen's attitude of taking every friendly match seriously has led to many good results, one notable example being a friendly 4–1 win over England in 2005, the worst loss for the English team since 1980 and a repetition of the impressive Danish 3–2 win on English ground at Old Traffordmarker in 2003.

For the 2006 World Cup qualification, Denmark was paired with, among others, 2002 World Cup bronze winners Turkey and Euro 2004 champions Greece competing for only one guaranteed spot at the final tournament. Following a poor start of the qualification, Denmark were trailing both Turkey and surprise leaders Ukraine. Denmark needed Turkey to lose points in the final games in order for Denmark to clinch the 2nd place of the group and one last chance to qualify via two play-off games. Indeed, had Turkey lost points to Albania in their last game, Denmark would have gone through, but instead they had to settle for 3rd place in the group and a longer summer break.

After failing to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, coach Olsen considered leaving the job, having received several offers from club teams, but decided to stay and extended his contract until after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, spurred on by his and the team's popularity among the Danish population.


Apart from the national team, Denmark is equally famous for its traveling fans, known as roligans. The movement emerged during the 1980s as the declared opposition to hooliganism. The goal of the roligan movement is calm, yet cheerful, support during the matches, as rolig means calm in the Danish language. The roligans have since developed an image of easy-going nature and rabid support, and are often considered amongst the world's best national team fans, along with the Tartan Army of Scotland. They were collectively given the FIFA FairPlay Award at the 1984 European Championships. Just before the 1986 World Cup, the roligan movement was organized in order to support the national team at the tournament.

The good reputation of the Danish supporters was sullied during a June 2, 2007 Euro 2008 qualifying game with Sweden, when an enraged Danish supporter invaded the pitch and attacked the referee following the expulsion of Christian Poulsen. The game was immediately abandoned and the supporter arrested.

2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (Group 1)

See also: List of Denmark national football team results, 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification - UEFA Group 1

Denmark has qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by winning their group.


From a 2–1 friendly win over Germany in 1912, to a 0–2 Euro 1992 qualification loss to Yugoslavia in 1990, Denmark played most of their home games at Idrætsparkenmarker in Copenhagenmarker, a total of 232 games, of which 125 were won. During this time, various games were spread out across the country, with matches played in other parts of the country, like at Aalborg Stadionmarker in Aalborgmarker, NRGi Parkmarker (then known as Atletion) in Århusmarker, and Fionia Parkmarker (then known as Odense Stadium) in Odensemarker, Odense Stadium being the main venue for national games for a year after the abandonment of Idrætsparken.

On September 9 1992, the rebuilt Idrætsparken, now called Parkenmarker, the biggest venue in Denmark with 42,000 seats, was opened with a 1–2 defeat by Germany. Parken has since been the sole stadium of the men's senior national team matches, with a contract on all men's senior matches until 2007. Meagre spectator support at some matches, which have attracted from 22,000 down to below 10,000 for the April 17, 2002 friendly 3–1 win over Israel, caused speculation that certain friendly matches might be moved to other stadiums around the country after 2007. In 2006 Parken's 13-year monopoly on national team matches was broken, for a May 27 2006 friendly game at NRGi Park, with World Cup 2006 participants Paraguay the opponent, almost 19,000 of the 22,227 tickets were sold within the first hour of sale. The game was a big success, support-wise, and another game at a new venue followed on September 1 at Brøndby Stadiummarker. However, this match only attracted 13,186 spectators (in a 26,000 capacity stadium) and was deemed a relative failure. The reasons are thought to be a combination of the poor, rainy weather, and the fact that this stadium is located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, and as such does not attract a new demographic, as the travel distances and times to Parken are not much greater, if not lesser, for most of the population.

Competitive record

World Cup

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
1930 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1934 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1938 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1950 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1954 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1958 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1962 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1966 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1970 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1974 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1978 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1982 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1986 Round of 16 10 4 3 0 1 10 6
1990 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1994 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1998 Quarter-finals 8 5 2 1 2 9 7
2002 Round of 16 10 4 2 1 1 5 5
2006 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2010 Qualified
Total 4/19 13 7 2 4 24 18

European Championship

Year Round GP W D* L GS GA
1960 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1964 Fourth place 2 0 0 2 1 6
1968 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1972 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1976 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1980 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1984 Semi-finals 4 2 1 1 9 4
1988 Round 1 3 0 0 3 2 7
1992 Champions 5 2 2 1 6 4
1996 Round 1 3 1 1 1 4 4
2000 Round 1 3 0 0 3 0 8
2004 Quarter-finals 4 1 2 1 4 5
2008 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2012 - - - - - -
Total 7/13 24 6 6 12 26 38

FIFA Confederations Cup

Year Round GP W D* L GS GA
1992 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1995 Champions 3 2 1 0 5 1
1997 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1999 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2001 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2003 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2005 Did not qualify - - - - - -
2009 Did not qualify - - - - - -
Total 1/8 3 2 1 0 5 1

Summer Olympic


The players are freely chosen by the national team manager. They are normally assembled, from their respective club teams, at Hotel Marina in Vedbækmarker for a week-long training camp preluding the upcoming game. Games are typically played on a Wednesday or Saturday evening.

Current squad

Squad called up for the Friendly match against United States on 18 november 2009, respectively. Below is the preliminary squad.

Recent call-up

In addition to the above, the following players have been called up during 2009:

Coaching staff


Each player in the national team receives a set amount of money per game, including bonuses for games won and qualification for the European Championship and World Cup tournaments. Through the years, these money prizes have gone from around €1,340 for a game win in 1987 and around €26,800 for the Euro 1988 participation alone, to around €67,000 for the 1998 World Cup and up to €107,000 for the 2002 World Cup participations, per player. Currently, the win bonus for friendly games are €1,340 per player, with start money for an away game at €670 per player, while a home win before a sellout crowd of 42,000, can possibly wield €7,600 per player, including the win bonus, due to spectator-dependent bonuses. In the qualification matches for the international tournaments, the bonuses are increased for both home and away wins, with a bonus also being paid for away draws.

Player names and numbers

Shirt numbers became quickly associated with a certain position, so to describe someone as 'Denmark's number 9' would be to describe a player as the best choice for centre forward. This terminology continues today, and the team has kept to the tradition of numbering players from 1 to 11 (12 upwards for substitute), outside of major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Football Championship, where permanent squad numbers are required.

Numbers are traditionally associated with a certain position, but there are no set rules. Furthermore, established players will tend to use the same number whenever they play. Martin Jørgensen, for example, retains the Denmark number 10 no matter what position he plays in. However, when Jørgensen does not play, another player will be number 10.

Best players of all time

In November 2006, the Danish Football Association nominated eight Danish national team footballers for the "Best Danish Footballer of All Time" award. The public could vote for the nominated players through the TV 2 broadcasting channel, and Michael Laudrup won the award with 58% of the votes.

The nominated players were, arranged after year of debut:

Hall of Fame


Ever since the Danish Football Association started registering official games at the 1908 Summer Olympics, assigned football managers who have coached the team at official tournaments. From 1911 to 1961, 169 matches were played without an assigned national team coach.

See also

Past squads and campaigns


  1. The Danish Football Association (DBU) decided not to send a competing team, so instead the Copenhagen Football Association (KBU), sent an unofficial team which won the tournament under the team name of Denmark.
  2. Birger B. Peitersen, Danish Football,
  3. Rasmus Bech, "Den aften, da Jesper Olsen blev glemt", Politiken article, March 28, 1999
  4. Peter Schmeichel with Egon Balsby, "Schmeichel: The Autobiography", Virgin, 1999, ISBN 0-7535-0444-8, pp. 97-98 of Danish version (ISBN 87-7901-122-5)
  5. Morten Olsen coach profile at
  6. Richard Møller Nielsen coach profile at
  7. Jens Gjesse Hansen, "Morten Olsen forlænger med fire år", Danmarks Radio, November 21, 2005
  8. Historie at
  9. [1]
  10. Landskampsstatistik Idrætsparken (København) at
  11. Christian Bové, "Landskamp for fulde huse i Århus", TV 2 , February 24, 2006
  12. The team did not compete in the final tournament, following the discovery that Dane Per Frimann was not eligible for the 2–0 win over Poland. Denmark was penalised the points of the win, which cost the spot at the final tournament.
  13. Jan Heintze, "Tyve år på toppen", Cicero, 2002, ISBN 87-7714-459-7 Values are translated from Danish kroner.
  14. Players bonus at
  15. Michael Laudrup løb med hæderen, TV 2 Sporten, November 13, 2006
  16. Richard Møller Nielsen coached 8 games in the 1988 Summer Olympics qualifications campaign, winning 6, drawing 1 and losing 1.


  • Palle "Banks" Jørgensen, "Landsholdets 681 profiler fra 1908 til i dag", TIPS-Bladet, 2002, ISBN 87-91264-01-4

External links


Win %
Charles Williams 1908–1910 4 3 0 1 75.0%
Axel Andersen Byrval 1913–1918 16 14 1 1 87.5%
caretaker managers 1920–1956 19 10 3 6 52.6%
Arne Sørensen 1956–1961 41 20 8 13 48.8%
Poul Petersen 1962–1966 47 17 8 22 36.2%
caretaker managers 1967–1969 28 13 4 11 46.4%
Rudi Strittich 1970–1975 61 20 11 30 32.8%
Kurt "Nikkelaj" Nielsen 1976–1979 31 13 6 12 41.9%
Sepp Piontek 1979–1990 115 52 24 39 45.2%
Richard Møller Nielsen 1987–1988
73 40 18 15 54.8%
Bo Johansson 1996–2000 40 17 9 14 42.5%
Morten Olsen a 2000– 100 54 28 18 54%
a) Accurate up to and including February 6 2008.

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