Kasper Schmeichel is aiming to live out yet another fairytale by qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, while De Rød-Hvide boss says that Christian Eriksen will hold the key to their success.
Leicester’s 31-year-old Danish goalkeeper has every reason to believe in fairy stories and not just because he is from Hans Christian Anderson’s homeland.
Schmeichel was one of the main men in Leicester’s amazing Premier League title success in 2016 and his father Peter was the hero of the astonishing 1992 European Championships victory when late entrants Denmark did not even officially qualify.
Now, Schmeichel Junior wears the gloves for the national side as they tackle Martin O’Neill’s team in the first leg of their play-off first leg on Saturday.
Schmeichel said: “I have never played in a World Cup. Playing in one would definitely be a dream for me, of course it would.
“These are two very big games against tough opponents. It is difficult to find words right now on what to expect.
“Before the last game against Romania we had played really well and won four games in a row. I think we have a good chance.”
Denmark, who last qualified for a World Cup in 2010, finished second behind Poland in their qualifying group to reach the playoffs.
The game plan against Ireland is basic, yet perfectly understandable. And Denmark coach Age Hareide has no problem sharing it ahead of his team’s World Cup playoff.
“When we get the ball,” he said, “the first thing we do is to look for Christian.”
“You always feel he will create chances and produce something special,” Hareide said. “So often a player like that, capable of extraordinary things, can be the difference when a match is very tight — especially against a team as well-organized as Ireland.”
Ireland’s coach agrees. “He’s a player who makes Tottenham tick these days,” Martin O’Neill said, “and, in that position, he has developed into one of the best in the world.”
The first leg of the playoff is in Denmark on Saturday. The return leg is on Tuesday.