Denmark is a proud nation that has produced some of Europe's best athletes throughout the years.
After winning Olympic gold in men's football in 1906, the Scandinavians would have to wait eighty years for another victory, which would come in an unexpected manner. The Danes won Euro '92 without talisman Michael Laudrup, reminding the world of their ability despite their tiny population (5 million people as of 2019).
After that, they won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1995. The Red and Whites are both patriotic and technically proficient, and they give their best in every big event.
The following are the top three footballers who have ever represented Denmark:
1. Michael Laudrup
Michael Laudrup, perhaps Denmark's greatest naturally gifted footballer, was still the top player in training as manager of Swansea, so one can only imagine his potential as a player. On his 18th birthday in June 1982, he made his senior international debut. After a complete season as a professional with Danish club KB, he decided to retire. Laudrup has scored two goals in his first three appearances for the Red and Whites before the end of 1982.
Laudrup was a sure starter for the Danish senior squad by Euro 1984. Denmark advanced to the Euros semi-finals for the second time in their history, with the playmaker starting all four games in a 4-4-2 attack combination with striker Preben Elkjr. By the 1986 World Cup, Laudrup had taken on a new position for Denmark, playing on the wings or in central midfield in a 4-4-2 or 5-3-2 formation.
The Danes made it to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history in the World Cup. He started all four games and scored one goal. As Denmark left the group stage, the midfield maestro continued to be ever-present, starting all three games in Germany and scoring one goal in a 2-3 defeat to Spain. Due to differences with the then-head coach, Richard Mller Nielsen, Laudrup decided to leave the national squad in 1990. As a consequence, the midfielder was unable to participate in Denmark's Euro '92 victory.
In August 1993, Laudrup rejoined the national team. At the 1995 Confederations Cup, he started two of Denmark's three games, scoring in the final against Argentina. Laudrup was captain of the national squad by 1996. He started all three games for Denmark at Euro '96, despite the fact that they went out in the group stages in a dismal defence of their 1992 title. The 1998 World Cup was his last big international event. As Denmark advanced to the quarterfinals, he started all five games as captain and scored one. After the tournament, he announced his retirement at the age of 34.
Laudrup, dubbed "The Prince of Denmark," was a graceful dribbler with both feet who had excellent ball speed and a high football IQ. His passing and vision were also exceptional, and his versatility is underappreciated. Laudrup represented Denmark as a striker, center midfielder, and flanker, depending on the needs of the squad.
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2. Brian Laudrup
Brian Laudrup, Michael's younger brother, had a lot to live up to, but he quickly established himself as a great player in his own way. At the age of 18, he made his senior international debut in November 1987. He was in the middle of his second season as a pro with Brndby of Denmark at the time. He was named to the preliminary Euro '88 team, but he fractured his collarbone before the final squad was released, thus he was unable to participate.
Brian, on the other hand, had become an essential part of the national squad by Euro 1992. After an unexpected retirement from the internationals with Michael, Brian returned to help the squad win the tournament, starting all five games in either center midfield or as a striker. Brian's efforts in the Euros won him the Danish Player of the Year title for 1992, despite the fact that he scored no goals throughout the tournament.
By the 1995 Confederations Cup, Michael had returned to the fold to play with his brother, significantly strengthening the Scandinavian team. Brian started all three games for Denmark, who won the tournament and scored one goal. Laudrup started all three of Denmark's games at Euro'96, whether as a single striker in a 4-3-3 or in a two-man partnership in a 4-3-1-2, as they exited the group stage. However, he shined on his own, scoring 75% (3/4) of their goals in the tournament.
The 1998 World Cup in France was the pacey maestro's last big international event. In 1998, Brian mainly played as a striker, starting all five games as Denmark advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in their history. His two goals came in knockout stage games against Nigeria and Brazil, respectively. Brian chose to retire from international football after the World Cup, despite the fact that he was just 29 years old at the time. He and his brother Michael were named to the tournament's All-Star team in 1998.
Brian Laudrup was an unselfish player who enjoyed assisting goals, having greater speed than his brother but comparable dribbling skill. His vision is underappreciated, especially his no-look backheels. Brian established a legacy of his own after winning Euro '92 without his brother. In addition, he scored crucial goals in big competitions and showed his flexibility on many occasions.
3. Preben Elkjær Larsen
Preben Elkjr Larsen, regarded as one of Denmark's best strikers of all time, made his senior international debut for Denmark in June 1977, when he was 19 years old. After scoring nine goals in as many games for Denmark's U-21 team, he was released. Elkjr was in his second pro season at the time, and his only one in Koln, Germany.
Elkjr was the starting striker for his nation by Euro 1984. He was given the number 10 jersey and scored two goals in four starts as Denmark reached the Euros semi-finals for the second time in their history. At the 1986 World Cup, the striker was a key member of the squad, starting all four games and scoring four goals as Denmark advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history.
He scored a hat-trick against Uruguay and was the tournament's joint-third leading scorer. His performance in the World Cup won him the Bronze Ball (third best player) and a spot on the tournament squad. Elkjr's most recent big international event was Euro '88, when he appeared in two games as Denmark finished bottom in their group. For the Red and Whites, it was Elkjr's lone goalless tournament.
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Elkjr was known for his tenacious and combative style of play, never giving up on a lost ball and often harassing opponents. His ball-handling ability is undervalued since he was frequently smooth while gliding past opponents. Elkjr's right foot was poisonous and had tremendous power and precision. Some dubbed him "The Mayor," and he came in second and third place for the 1984 and 1985 Ballon d'or honors, respectively. A legend in Denmark.