Monday, August 20, 2018

Prediction: Denmark vs Panama

Verdict: Denmark/Denmark

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

Denmark begin their preparations for the 2018 World Cup finals with a friendly game against CONCACAF side Panama, who have also booked a ticket to Russia, where they will face European powerhouses England and Belgium as well as Tunisia.

Denmark

Denmark haven’t enjoyed too much success since the shock triumph at Euro 1992, and they have yet to make it to the last four at World Cup finals. Having crashed out in the group stage in South Africa and then failed to reach Brazil, the Nordic side will have extra motivation to prove their worth at the 2018 finals. In spite of the slow starts, Denmark eventually managed to secure a play-off berth in Group E of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and they then battled Republic of Ireland for one qualifying spot.

Age Hareide’s side failed to impress in the first leg, having been held to a goalless draw at home, but then showed massive improvement to win the return match 5-1, with Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen bagging a hat-trick. Denmark showed a lot of character to come from behind and record such a resounding win, and they will want to keep the spirits high with a win over Panama.

Team News

Nicolai Boilesen and Jonas Knudsen have received their first call-ups since Age Hareide took over, but Andreas Bjelland, Kasper Dolberg and Jannik Vestergaard all miss out.

Panama

CONCACAF minnows Panama have been showing a great deal of improvement in recent years, reaching the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on three occasions in last four attempts, and they have now secured their first ever World Cup appearance. Los Canaleros narrowly clinched the final qualifying berth thanks to a 2-1 win over Costa Rica, leaving the likes of Honduras and United States to trail in their wake.

Panama have since played three friendly games, defeating Grenada (5-0), losing to Iran (1-2) and sharing spoils with Wales (1-1). Having been placed in a strong group alongside Belgium, England and Tunisia at the tournament finals, los Canaleros decided to test their skills against Denmark, Switzerland, Northern Ireland and Norway in their final four warm-up games, and the first match in Brondby will pose a serious challenge.

Team News

Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has made serious changes to the squad that faced Iran and Wales, although key men Blas Perez, Luis Tejada, Roman Torres, Felipe Baloy and Gabriel Gomez are included.

Key Factors to Consider

  • This will be first FIFA friendly for Denmark since the play-offs
  • Panama and Denmark shared spoils (2-2) in their only meeting so far
  • Los Canaleros in line for first ever World Cup appearance
  • Christian Eriksen scored 11 goals in 2018 World Cup qualifying
  • There are ten players aged 30 or older in the Panama squad

Conclusion

Denmark have shown a great deal of potential near the end of 2017 and we fully expect them to continue the rich vein of form into the New Year and enjoy a comfortable triumph over the aged Panama side. We expect the game to show the difference between top European sides and average CONCACAF teams.

Verdict: Denmark/Denmark

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

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