Hjulmand and Vestergaard certain Denmark are “ready” ahead of last 16 tie with Euro hosts Germany – Football News

Hjulmand and Vestergaard certain Denmark are “ready” ahead of last 16 tie with Euro hosts Germany

Kasper Hjulmand praised Germany’s talented squad, while Jannick Vestergaard discussed the talent that the Germans have in their forward line. 

Denmark have strolled into the knockout rounds following three simple draws in Group C action, scoring just two goals.

The intensity, and talent of the players they will face against Germany could prove a shock to the system, one of the few sides that have looked most like a club outfit so far. 

If De Rød-Hvide are able to amount what would be a huge upset, they would face either Spain or Georgia in the quarter finals.

Fitness queries were answered regarding star midfielder Christian Eriksen, although Hjulmand stressed the fact that he has a “plan B” for every eventuality. 

Star man Christian Eriksen has been absent from training with a stomach issue, the same that Sevilla midfielder Thomas Delaney has been struggling with.

He (Eriksen) had some stomach issues this morning, the same as Thomas. We told him not to train to make sure it didn’t develop. We hope he can join us for tomorrow’s game,” Hjulmand said. 

When asked if there was a stomach bug making the rounds through the camp, Hjulmand shared that “it is purely coincidence, it’s natural with this many people in one place.

Eriksen, who currently plays for Manchester United, has played a key role in Denmark’s tournament, scoring in their opening game against Slovenia, a 1-1 draw, Hjulmand was asked about his importance to the side.

Of course certain players are important, but we always have a plan B. If Jannick (Vestergaard) is injured, we have a plan B.

Despite finishing second in Group C, Denmark failed to win a game, drawing all three matchups and scoring just two goals. “We’ve had a lot of possession in those games,” Hjulmand said. “We’re struggling to get the ball up to Rasmus (Højlund), tomorrow will be a different game.

Denmark’s support carried them through the group stages, finishing second behind England in Group C. There will only be between 6,000-8,000 Danish fans inside the 81,000 seater stadium. 

It’s a home game for Germany for sure,” manager Hjulmand said. “You’ve seen in the group stage how amazing the Danish support has been, we’re so thankful for that. Of course tomorrow it will feel like an away game but those that are coming will do their best to show their support and we appreciate that.

At the back for Denmark, Leicester City’s Jannick Vestergaard plays alongside Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen and Barcelona’s Andreas Christensen, forming the foundation for De Rød-Hvide. He has been deployed in each position of the back three in the past, and was asked about how that fluidity benefits himself and the team. 

I feel comfortable both on the left side and in the middle, so I would say that I’ve been playing on the left for the past few games and that comes really natural for me, it’s something we did the last Euro, it gives us more flexibility in defence, we see that as a strength.

That defence will be tested against a Germany side which has scored more goals than anyone else in the group stages. Julian Nagelsmann’s striker selection has been questioned, with the toss up between Kai Havertz and Niclas Füllkrug a key decision for the former Bayern Munich boss. 

“We’re preparing for every situation,” Vestergaard said, “No matter who starts, the other is likely to get in later in the game. These are world class players so it’s going to be a game where we have to play as a team.”

“That’s one of our biggest strengths, we’ve shown it before and that is what we’re going for tomorrow.”

  • Vestergaard’s German connections

Vestergaard, who has played 44 times for Denmark since his debut in 2013, could have been a part of the opposition’s squad.

I had some meetings with them (Germany) when I was younger and playing for Hoffenheim. It was about the Under-21 side, and I imagined myself representing their team, but I felt I would be missing out (Not choosing Denmark).”

Denmark, similarly to many other teams in the tournament, have trained at the stadium prior to matchday. However, Hjulmand explained that this has not been the case before their round-of-16 tie. 

We had much more time to plan and select the team during the group stages,” Hjulmand explained. “We haven’t had that time in Dortmund. We spoke with the players and decided it was the best decision not to train in the stadium.”

Denmark will have had just three rest days since the draw with Serbia, and Hjulmand addressed the recovery of his side. 

“I don’t feel like it’s only been a few days, many of the players are used to this rhythm, the majority play in Europe where they’re used to this pace already.”

Knockout football means the return of penalty shootouts, should the games progress as far. Hjulmand confirmed that the team have been practising. “Yes, for many years!” he joked. 

Denmark will be hoping to offer a challenge for Germany, who will look to carry the momentum of their Group A performances through to the knockouts. 

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