Kasper Schmeichel has vowed Denmark will not make the mistake of underestimating Northern Ireland ahead of Monday’s final Euro 2024 qualifier at Windsor Park.
Denmark have travelled to Belfast fresh from celebrating securing their place at next summer’s tournament with Friday’s 2-1 win over Slovenia, and on paper are firm favourites for another victory at Windsor Park.
They beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in Copenhagen in June, sit 56 places above Michael O’Neill’s injury-hit side in the world rankings, and are on a five-game winning run.
Most of the Northern Ireland players that Anderlecht goalkeeper Schmeichel remembers from his time in English football — not least former Leicester team-mate Jonny Evans — are missing through injury, but the 37-year-old will make sure he does his homework.
“First-hand knowledge of them, I haven’t played against many of them for sure,” Schmeichel said.
“I think it would be a big mistake to underestimate Northern Ireland at home, regardless of how qualification has gone.
“In a one-off game I’m sure they would love to beat us.
“From our point of view our aim, our motivation is the same.
“We prepare as we would against any other team. We wouldn’t be disrespectful.”
Denmark, who have injury problems of their own with Manchester United pair Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund among those missing, have needed to win five straight matches to get out of Group H after what coach Kasper Hjulmand called a “rocky start”.
That was highlighted by a 3-2 defeat in Kazakhstan, where Denmark led 2-0 with 20 minutes to go before a stunning collapse.
But with their place now secure, Monday’s match could see Hjulmand give opportunities to a number of fringe players eager to show what they can doRead on belfasttelegraph.co.uk