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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Wales can profit from Denmark's problems

Gareth Bale should set the standard

Gareth Bale celebrates with Wales teammate Aaron Ramsey
1 of 1

Nations League
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, Sunday 5pm

Wales are going to be up against a much stronger Denmark team than they might have anticipated a few days ago but they look good value to build on their excellent start to the Nations League by winning in Aarhus.

A dispute between the Danish players and their football association over commercial rights had threatened the integrity of the fixture.

The situation was unresolved at the time of Denmark's friendly away to Slovakia on Wednesday, forcing the Danes to assemble a drastically weakened squad made up of futsal and domestic lower league players.

Denmark lost 3-0 to the Slovaks, who were backed into 1-12 favouritism, but their first-choice squad have agreed to make themselves available for the Wales game as talks continue between the parties.

From a Wales point of view, their task has got a whole lot tougher but Denmark's build-up has been far from ideal and they look worth opposing at just a shade of odds-against.

Wales were hugely impressive 4-1 victors at home to Ireland in their Nations League opener – their first competitive game under Ryan Giggs – and they now have a great chance to establish an early stranglehold in League B, Group Four.

It is fair to say that injury-hit Ireland were extremely poor but they were up against a vibrant Wales side who should go from strength to strength on the road to Euro 2020.

Gareth Bale gives the Welsh a cutting edge which few other nations possess and the rest of the team look a lot stronger thanks to an influx of talented youngsters.

Chelsea's 17-year-old prospect Ethan Ampadu played the midfield holding role against Ireland and demonstrated a maturity way beyond his years.

Bournemouth's 21-year-old winger David Brooks and Brentford's 20-year-old centre-back Chris Mepham were also impressive and 22-year-old Swansea right-back Connor Roberts came up with a stunning finish to complete the home side's scoring.

There is arguably a lot more potential in the current Welsh squad than the one that reached the semi-finals at Euro 2016 and it is up to Giggs to get the best out of them.

As with all young teams, results and performances could be inconsistent but confidence is high after the midweek victory and there is every reason to expect Wales to give Denmark a tough game.

Denmark will need to be somewhere near their best to win and a lot will depend on star man Christian Eriksen, who was their best player by a distance at the World Cup.

However, Eriksen was strangely subdued as Tottenham crashed 2-1 at Watford last Sunday and most of his energies this week seem to have been taken up by speaking on behalf of the players in the dispute with the DBU.

Denmark famously won Euro 92 after replacing Yugoslavia at short notice but a lack of proper preparation is usually a negative factor and it could influence their chances of beating Wales.

1pt 14-5 BoyleSports

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Team news
Nicolai Jorgensen and Kasper Dolberg are injured and Michael Krohn-Dehli and William Kvist have retired from international football.

Hal Robson-Kanu retired from international football after missing out on a place in the squad.

Key stat
Wales have lost one of their last 11 competitive away games.

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Gareth Bale gives the Welsh a cutting edge which few other nations possess
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