Yesterday I managed to watch Austria-Denmark online, alongside some Danish buddies over Skype, and with some beers at hand.
Football-watching in COVID-times.
Denmark won 0-4 in Vienna, against the team that many consider the other contender for the World Cup spot. This was Denmark's third victory in a row in what must be the best start for World Cup qualifying for any team (journalists were already getting a bit too excited, proclaiming that Denmark was basically qualified): 0-2 victory against Israel in Tel Aviv, and an 8-0 trashing of Moldova means Denmark has 9 points and a score of 14-0!
But as much as the results of the matches, Manager Kasper Hjulmand is in possession of a lot of depth in his team: he used almost 22 players for the three matches, among them many young players, most notably strikers, a position where Denmark has been weak for years: 20-year old Mikkel Damsgaard from Sampdoria scored two against Moldova, and 21-year old Andreas Skov Olsen from Bologna scored two against Austria, and it appears more established players such as Martin Braithwaite or Yussuf Poulsen must be feeling some positive pressure from the youngsters. But also defense, where Denmark has solid players with international experience, seems to have young players to add to the depth of the team, such as Atalanta's Joakim Maehle.
Interestingly, Denmark u-21 team has also been playing the European Championships this last week, and also won their group with three victories against France, Iceland and Russia. So there is a lot of interesting young players coming up the ranks in Denmark.
Of course Denmark is not qualified yet. Far from it. And despite last night's routing of Austria, one feels that they are still to be tested against quality opposition. But after this last week, even with my un-apologetically biased eyes, I think that there is great cause for optimism about the Danish national team!