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Denmark are not underdogs against England, says coach Kasper Hjulmand | Euro 2020

The Denmark coach, Kasper Hjulmand, has said he does not like the underdog tag his team have been given before the Euro 2020 semi-final against England at Wembley.

The 49-year-old admitted that England have a very good team but he does not see his side as being underdogs or inferior in any way to their opponents. “We are in a phase now with the national team that we are moving away from being the underdog all the time,” he said.

“We try to take the initiative regardless of who our opponents are. We try to be proactive and score goals. I don’t like the underdog mentality. Our mindset is not like an underdog. We are out to create chances and attack. We have the mentality that we can go out and beat whoever we are playing.”

Denmark qualified from a group containing Belgium, Russia and Finland and have since beaten Wales and Czech Republic to reach the semi-final. They played their group games at home at Parken Stadium and Hjulmand knows the English players will benefit from the home support on Wednesday but he said it comes with extra pressure.

“There is a lot of pressure on the English team compared to us. We can and will use this opportunity with everything we have got. They will be helped by the fans but there is also enormous pressure on them because everyone expects them to beat us.”

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He also challenged the Danish fans who will be at the stadium to be heard. “With thousands of Danish fans who live here [in the UK] I am sure we will hear them. We encourage them to be so loud as possible. We strongly believe that it will be difficult for England to beat us.”

Hjulmand reported that the whole squad is available for selection for the game and thanked everyone back home who has supported them throughout the tournament. “We are happy that we are going out at Wembley to play a semi-final. It is like a dream coming true, for me and the players. This is why you start to play football.

Denmark’s Mikkel Damsgaard will hope to be the first to breach England’s defence at Euro 2020.
Denmark’s Mikkel Damsgaard will hope to be the first to breach England’s defence at Euro 2020. Photograph: Naomi Baker/Reuters

“We feel the support from back home. It is moving and it gives us strength so a big thank you to everyone at home. We are now playing England, they have a very good team and I have a a lot of respect for the English FA and what they have done over several years now. I have visited them several times [to see how they work].

“They have done a good job of developing players and have a good squad now with young players. They have won the Under-17 World Cup and the Under-20 World Cup recently.

“It is a good team, but we are also a good team and we believe. We believe in ourselves and we are entering this game with enthusiasm. And one thing is clear, we will go on the pitch tomorrow and once again give everything we have got.”

The Denmark goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, said he is not thinking about stopping football from coming home – asking whether “it has ever been home” before adding: “I haven’t been thinking about what it means to stop England. I have been focusing about what it will mean for Denmark if we win.”

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