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Women's football in Denmark


Long a hotbed of the women's game, Denmark now hopes to offer female players the best possible conditions to develop their talent.

Denmark's Mille Gejl and Sofie Svava
Denmark's Mille Gejl and Sofie Svava UEFA


Proud legacy

They may have had to wait until UEFA Women's EURO 2017 to reach their first major final, but Denmark have always been a force in European women's football. The national side played in the inaugural final tournaments of the Women's EURO, the FIFA Women's World Cup and the Women's Olympic Football Tournament, while Fortuna Hjørring and Brøndby performed well in UEFA women's club competition from the start. Denmark now boast one of the game's biggest stars in Pernille Harder, and recently the Danish women's league has attracted new sponsorship and TV coverage as one of the stalwart nations of the female game shows it can compete in the new era.

Best UEFA competition performance

Senior: UEFA Women's EURO runners-up (2017)
Youth: UEFA Women's Under-18 Championship winners (1998)

Women's football pioneer

Katrine Pedersen
Katrine PedersenUEFA

Katrine Pedersen picked up 210 caps in an international career that lasted almost 20 years, playing for clubs in England, Norway, Sweden and Australia. All this while working as a high-school teacher – with pupils including current Norway midfielder Caroline Graham Hansen. She then qualified as coach and is now in charge of top-flight AGF.

"When you’re an athlete, you have a goal, you work every day to perform well, to get to that maximum performance, and when you do that with a national team as well, you’re not only playing for the team, you’re playing for the nation. It makes you proud and you can inspire a lot of young boys and girls."

Milestone moments

On the pitch… 

Having lost all five of their previous Women's EURO semi-finals, Denmark put that right five years ago in Breda courtesy of Stina Lykke Petersen. The goalkeeper not only kept a clean sheet in the 120 minutes against Austria but also in the penalty shoot-out that followed.

… and off it 

Denmark's top-flight women's championship, the Kvindeliga, was able to undergo an overhaul in 2019 thanks to a lucrative sponsorship deal with insurance company Gjensidige. Intended to help close the gap on Europe's top leagues, the deal was extended this year.

Game changer

The Denmark women's team made their high-profile debut outing at Parken Stadium on 24 June, beating Brazil 2-1 in a friendly in front of a record 21,542 crowd, highlighting fervent local support for the female game. Of course, it helps to have a superstar in Pernille Harder, the only person to twice be named UEFA Women's Player of the Year, but the likes of Signe Bruun and Sofie Svava are also indicative of Denmark's ability to produce talents the envy of bigger nations.

Here and now

Against the odds

Simone Boye Sørensen
Simone Boye SørensenUEFA

Simone Boye Sørensen made her international debut in 2011 and when available has been a regular in her country's red and white ever since.

Injuries have been a disruptive influence on the defender’s career in recent years and here, she shares her journey through the game, discusses the frustrations of being sidelined and the problems that accompany it.

Joining the game in Denmark

Are you interested in playing women's football?

Find out how to play where you are with the help of #WePlayStrong.

How you can play

Trailblazers exhibition

WEURO Trailblazers: Denmark

"Trailblazers" is a unique exhibition that showcases the work of European artists given a blank canvas to celebrate women’s football. UEFA invited artists from participating nations in this summer’s tournament to create an image inspired by the game in their country. Denmark's representative is Stine Hvid: "I wanted to show the joy, friendship and common love of sports and football. I played football myself when I was a teenager – it was an awesome team, with great players. I was not very good at it, but I continued to play because I absolutely loved the teamspirit and friendship, the encourgagement from the others to improve, and to reach something together as unit. My first football memory was Denmark winning EURO '92 – my whole family was covered in red and white and were jumping with joy. This Denmark team for Women's EURO is one strong fireball of power women."

Investing for the future

The Danish Football Association's (DBU) women's football strategy

The DBU's vision is to make Denmark the best country to be a female footballer. As DBU president Jesper Møller explained when publishing a new strategy for women's football in 2021: "More women and girls should have the ability and facilities to play football and experience the amazing community and possibilities that come with the sport."

This vision is being pursued in various ways, including more grassroots development, bigger communications campaigns, improved facilities, an increase in women's national team sponsors and commercialisation of domestic competitions.

Women's Football Development Programme (WFDP)

Since 2010, UEFA's WFDP has provided associations with funding and tools to increase participation, improve standards and build infrastructure to help keep the female game growing. One example of a project funded by the WFDP programme in Denmark is…

Commercial manager programme in the women's top league (2016–20)

Denmark supported eight clubs by employing a commercial manager for each of them to help increase their income, exposure, number of spectators and both the number of matches live-streamed and the viewing figures for those matches.

As a result, the income of the clubs involved increased by 15% while the number of spectators at matches rose by 75% – and 79% for play-off games. Furthermore, the figure for highlight video plays surged by 110%. These successes prompted the creation of another project which monitored the clubs' general contribution to the overall 2016–20 plan and their incomes related to the work of commercial managers.