Denmark and Brentford are developing quite the strange little bond in recent years with the Bees well connected to the Scandinavian country through coaching and playing staff.
Ordinarily, that works quite nicely in both directions with Danish fans cheering on Brentford during their Premier League exploits and, in return, Brentford fans wanting to see Denmark perform well.
Does that sentiment remain true though when a World Cup sits smack bang in the middle of the football calendar?
Here we look at that very thing.
Why do Denmark and Brentford like each other?
This is a really easy question to address. It started with Brentford boss Thomas Frank; Frank, who was born in the Danish town of Frederiksværk, arrived at Brentford in 2018. Since then the former Danish youth coach has developed his side with a clear philosophy and, most importantly, results. His pure presence at the helm obviously brings more interest from Denmark but couple that with a bit of success and the fans come pouring in from his homeland.
The success Frank enjoyed has continued this season with Brentford’s crushing 4-0 win of Man United the highlight so far. As with all good teams, there are standout players; within this Brentford group though there is a real core of Danish players that further build the Brentford/Denmark bond.
Currently, Brentford has six Denmark players in their squad – Zanka, Kristoffer Ajer, Mads Roerslev Rasmussen, Christian Nörgaard, Mathias Jensen, and Mikkel Damsgaard.
Then last year they were also the team to take a gamble on Christian Eriksen after his health scare that blighted Denmark’s impressive European Championship campaign. That further endeared Frank – and his club – to the people of his homeland.
What are Denmark’s chances in Qatar?
If you look at the Qatar World Cup betting odds, Denmark is priced at 28/1 (29.00); that puts them as the 10th most fancied side to lift the trophy whilst they are 6/4 (2.50) to reach the quarter-finals. That suggests they’re not particularly well fancied to go deep at the tournament.
That said, given how they’ve performed of late there is a quiet buzz building back in Denmark. Tunisia and Australia are two highly winnable fixtures that await them in Group D whilst the toughest hurdle to overcome – a game against France – is one they know they’re capable of winning. They’ve just comprehensively beaten France in the Nations League to complete a competition double over the World Cup holders and, actually, haven’t lost to them since 2015 despite facing them three times since then.
That gives Denmark a real chance of setting up a nice route to that aforementioned quarter-final stage. Once there, anything can happen.
Do Brentford fans want to see Denmark go far?
This question is a really interesting one. On one hand, the Bees fan base will want to see their players rip things up for the nation; it’s a strangely satisfying feeling to see players you have an affiliation with perform well and achieve things regardless of who it’s for. There are a couple of factors that need to be weighed up though.
Firstly, most Brentford fans will also support England and there is a very real chance that the two nations clash in the quarter-finals. That would obviously split loyalties for Brentford fans and, in all likelihood, the Bees would want England to come out on top.
The second question mark is more complicated to answer. How does a mid-season World Cup impact Brentford’s season? Obviously there is the risk of injury, which is a concern. Beyond that though the tournament could carry an enormous emotional and mental impact on their players.
Should Denmark do well their players may well return with an extra spring in their step to carry on with their club season. Should they have a poor tournament then it could derail the good form they’ve shown, damage their morale and lead to a dip in performance. With the Denmark players forming such a big part of the Brentford dressing room their mood post-Qatar really could spread to the entire squad and either make or break their campaign.
Before we sign off, the only thing that remains is to make an assessment on how we see things unfolding for both Denmark and Brentford.
As things stand both are in a good place and we think that will remain the case until the World Cup arrives. In respect of the World Cup we see Denmark qualifying from their group – albeit probably in second place – before crashing out in a tough round of 16 tie.
The good news is that we think the Danes will go down swinging and leave Qatar with their heads held high.
That will see the Brentford contingent arrive back in London having not played loads of football and without their moods on the floor – that will be the ultimate result from a club perspective before Brentford press on for a solid end to the season where they’ll be well clear of relegation trouble.