The eyes of world football will shift to Russia on Friday when the draw for the group stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup takes place. And for the first time ever, there will be Brentford interest in that draw.
After a qualification process that lasted more than two-and-a-half years, the 32 teams that will compete for the 2018 World Cup were confirmed last week. And on Friday, 1 December, each of them will find out their first opponents. Among the nations looking towards Russia next week will be Denmark. The Scandinavian country have reached their fifth World Cup Finals and may include Brentford players in their squad.
During their qualification Denmark regularly had Brentford duo Henrik Dalsgaard and Andreas Bjelland in their defence. Henrik played in five of Denmark’s ten games in UEFA Qualification Group E but missed out on a Play-Off victory over Republic of Ireland through injury. Andreas did play in that two-legged tie and has 28 caps to his name.
Striker Lasse Vibe has 11 national caps and was part of the squad last summer while Emiliano Marcondes – who will join The Bees in January when his contract at FC Nordsjælland expires – is a recent graduate of Denmark’s Under-21 squad and may make the step up. Danish youth internationals Justin Shaibu, Mads Bech Sørensen and Lukas Talbro are a little further away from the squad.
Denmark are in the third tier of nations going in to the draw. Hosts Russia and the top seven ranked countries in the world will take the eight seeded positions in the four-team groups. The remaining 24 teams have been placed in pots based on their world rankings. Denmark are ranked 19th in the world and will be the leading side in pot three.
No player has ever featured in a World Cup while contracted to Brentford so new ground could be broken for the Club in Russia. The finals start on June 14 and preliminary squads will be announced in May.