DenmarkCoach: Jesper Jensen
The last major tournament held in Denmark came with a bittersweet outcome for the Scandinavian side. At the European Championship 2020, the Danish squad missed the bronze medal on home ground against Croatia, but recovered from that brilliantly over the last two years. One year later, at the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship, Denmark took the bronze medal, followed by the silver medal at the EHF EURO 2022. Including the fourth place at the EHF EURO 2020, it seems like a logical conclusion that they will finish on top at this year’s World Championship, climbing the ladder continuously over the last international tournaments.
Denmark will co-host the 26th edition of the World Championship together with Sweden and Norway, the first edition ever in the history of the competition to be played in three countries. However, they will be the only country to host preliminary rounds, main rounds, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final in Frederikshavn and Herning, with the Danish squad based in Herning throughout the whole competition.
Over the last few years, the core of the squad hasn’t changed, and it looked like new players integrated and evolved easily. They have probably the best goalkeeper pair between their posts. Captain Sandra Toft has been part of the national team for 15 years now and just got better and better, winning the last two medals with her team as well as being crowned as 2021 IHF Female Player of the Year.
Toft and Odense HK goalkeeper Althea Reinhardt are an absolute force in the goal. At the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship, they ended on a 46% saving efficiency (151 saves / 329 shots faced) and underlined their strength as well at the EHF EURO 2022, where only the Norwegian goalkeeper duo could prove to be slightly stronger than Toft and Reinhardt.
While Toft was an All-star goalkeeper at the World Championship in 2021, two other Danish players caught attention at the EHF EURO 2022. Young left wing Emma Friis and line player Katrine Heindahl not only made it to the All-star team but also received the EHF Excellence Award for the 2022/23 season, honouring the best players in each playing position.
In addition to their outstanding players, the team from head coach Jesper Jensen shows a powerful collective with experienced back players with the likes of Anne Mette Hansen, Kristina Jørgensen, Louise Burgaard, Line Haugsted and Mie Højlund.
Since Jesper Jensen took over the team in 2020, the Danish squad improved constantly and learned to deal with pressure. After being so close to a medal already at the beginning of his job as the head coach at the EHF EURO 2020, he will be highly motivated to guide his team to another medal – gold at its best. It would only be the second time in history as Denmark only took gold once at the World Championship in 1997 – 26 years ago.
The hosts will open their campaign in Herning against Serbia. The group is completed by Romania and Chile, the only non-European team in this group. Jensen wasn’t very happy about this group knowing that Serbia and Romania are two good sides that can cause trouble. However, he wants to collect as many points as possible and will prepare his team to perform and impress from the very beginning in front of an amazing crowd on home ground.
Key players: Sandra Toft (goalkeeper), Kathrine Heindahl (line player), Emma Friis (left wing)
Qualification for DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: Hosts
History in tournament: 1957: 5th, 1962: 2nd, 1965: 5th, 1971: 6th, 1973: 7th, 1975: 9th, 1990: 10th, 1993: 2nd, 1995: 3rd, 1997: 1st, 1999: 6th, 2001: 4th, 2003: 13th, 2005: 4th, 2009: 5th, 2011: 4th, 2013: 3rd, 2015: 6th, 2017: 6th, 2019: 9th, 2021: 3rd
Group at DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: Group E (Denmark, Romania, Serbia, Chile)