The final round of 2023 FIFA WWC European Qualifiers are underway and there are multiple Madridistas involved with their national teams. Denmark kicked things off against Montenegro, needing a win to confirm their ticket to next year’s World Cup. They dominated proceedings right from the start and finished with a comfortable 5-1 win in the end.
With this win they maintain a flawless qualification record, winning all 8 of their qualifiers, scoring 40 goals while only giving up 2.
Denmark lined up in a 3-4-2-1, with Sofie Svava starting the game from the bench. Pernille Harder and youngster Sofie Bredgaard formed a supporting attacking duo in behind striker Signe Bruun. Everton midfielder, Karen Holmgaard, partnered Katherine Kuhl in the midfield 2 while Katerine Veje played as the left wing back.
Denmark completely dominated the game right from the start and set the alarm bells ringing. Holmgaard opened the scoring in the 3rd minute from a freekick. She towered over others in the box and met the ball in front of an indecisive goalkeeper. Denmark looked set to hand Montenegro a heavy hitting with Bredgaard hitting the post in the 12th minute.
Despite Denmark’s dominance Montenegro did mange to create opportunities. They created a shot from a corner with the goalkeeper failing to claim the delivery. In the 22nd minute, they managed to hit Denmark on the transition and scored from a cross at the far post by captain, Jasna Đoković, which was met with a brilliant run by Jelena Vujadinović.
Beyond this it was mostly one way traffic. Lars Søndergaard’s side quickly regained their lead via a penalty for handball inside the ball following a direct freekick. By the 40th minute Denmark already had 14 shots compared to Montenegro’s 2.
The team continued in the second half. Denmark posed consistent threat from corners and set-pieces due to their physical presence. Søndergaard’s side scored a quick fire couple inside the opening 5 minutes of the second half. Ballisager scored from a corner situation while Bruun was the quickest to react to a loose ball inside the box and managed to squeeze it past the goalkeeper first time. Things could have been much worse for Montenegro as Denmark hit the post and crossbar multiple times throughout the game.
Sofie Svava was brought on in the 71st minute to replace Simone Boye and she reprised her role as the LWB. She had an immediate impact, providing a good cross for Harder in the penalty box. She later went on to provide an assist with a low ball across the face of goal for Josefine Hasbo in the 82nd minute. That was Denmark’s 5th goal of the game. Svava did have some bright moments on the ball, with her ball carrying and crossing creating a couple of opportunities. She made a couple of very good runs attacking the far post.
The game was already decided by the time of her introduction and that meant she wasn’t as involved in the thick of things as she’d like to be. There were a lot of speculative efforts in the final 15 minutes as Denmark tried to pile on the misery. They ended the game with 36 shots with 10 on target compared to Montenegro’s 3 with 1 on target. Their domination was also reflective on the ball, with the Scandinavian side recording 81% possession.