When Mathias Jensen came off the substitute’s bench to play for Denmark earlier this week, he reached another milestone. Mathias came on in the later stages of Denmark’s win over Austria on Tuesday evening, 12 October. It was a big day for Denmark as they won the game 1-0 and made it eight victories from eight in the qualification process for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, securing a spot in the tournament. It was also a big moment for Mathias as he earned his 15th cap in the contest.
Denmark have been faultless in qualification for the World Cup. They have yet to concede a goal in UEFA Qualification Group F and have guaranteed top spot, ensuring they will be at the tournament, which will be held in Qatar next winter. It was also another step in securing Mathias place in the Brentford record books. Since The Bees entered the EFL more than a century ago, more than 1,000 players have appeared in our colours and now only two have played more international games while on Brentford’s books.
Brentford players have been involved in international football for longer than The Bees have been a Football League side. Brentford’s first international was Joe Connor, who played twice for the Ireland national football team, which represented the island of Ireland from 1882 until 1950, in 1903. Tommy Shanks also represented Ireland in 1905 and it was then almost 30 years until Dai Hopkins became Brentford’s third international, representing Wales.
Brentford played in the upper echelons of the First Division in the late 1930s and nine players won international honours, including the Club’s only two England internationals to date – Billy Scott and Leslie Smith. Only Dai Hopkins made a real impact while on Brentford’s books, with his 12 caps remaining a Club Record for more than 50 years. That was broken by Malta international John Buttigieg.
John signed for Brentford in November 1988. He spent just under three years with The Bees, leaving at the end of the 1990/91 season. In that period, John made 20 international appearances. His 97 games for his country leaves him eighth on Malta’s most capped player list.
Brentford players were selected for their countries throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but no-one earned more than 12 caps until Henrik Dalsgaard and Kamohelo Mokotjo. Both joined Brentford in 2017 and were part of their international squads while with The Bees. Henrik earned 22 of his 26 Denmark caps while with The Bees, which makes him the Club’s most capped player. He was the first Brentford player to appear in a World Cup, helping Denmark reach the last 16 in Russia in 2018.
Kamohelo played 15 times for South Africa while with Brentford, which puts him join-third with Mathias on our most capped list. He, along with Julian Jeanvier for Guinea, played in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He is one of only a few Brentford players, a list that also included Mathias, Christian Nørgaard, Henrik, Marcus Forss and Halil Dervişoğlu, to have appeared in an international tournament.
Mathias and Christian will be hoping to be involved in the upcoming World Cup and other Brentford players could join them. Marcus and Halil could still reach the event, with Finland and Turkey respectively, while Kristoffer Ajer and Norway, Frank Onyeka and Nigeria, Tariqe Fosu and Ghana, Yoane Wissa and Democratic Republic of Congo, Saman Ghoddos and Iran, and Ethan Pinnock and Jamaica could be heading there as well. The next international fixtures will be played in November.