France and Denmark have been regular opponents at Under-21 level but kick off Group C with their first competitive meeting.
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Back in the finals for the second tournament running, France face Denmark in their first 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship fixture to kick off Group C at the Haladás Stadion in Szombathely.
• While France returned to the final tournament in 2019 after a 13-year absence, reaching the semi-finals, the Danes have become regular participants in the group stage.
• This is the sides' first competitive U21 fixture although they have been regular friendly opponents at this level, meeting in four official matches since first crossing paths in 2007. In the most recent fixture, a 47th-minute Oliver Abildgaard Nielsen goal gave Denmark a 1-0 win in Brest on 24 March 2019.
• France were 3-1 victors in Tours on 21 March 2013, Lucas Digne's fifth-minute opener cancelled out by Nicolai Brock-Madsen's 26th-minute equaliser before Florian Thauvin (40) and Abdoulaye Doucouré (83) ensured the home side prevailed.
• It was also 3-1 to France at the Aalborg Stadion on 12 October 2010 thanks to goals from David N'Gog (14) and Morgan Schneiderlin (44) either side of an Andreas Bjelland own goal two minutes after Nicki Bille Nielsen (32) had levelled at 1-1 for the home side.
• Two late Dimitri Payet goals (83, 90) had given France another 3-1 victory in that first game, in Le Mans on 23 March 2007. Michael Jakobsen gave visitors Denmark a 23rd-minute lead that was cancelled out by Mamadou Samassa eight minutes before half-time.
• Boubacar Kamara was in the France side that drew 0-0 with Denmark in the group stage of the 2016 European U17 Championship; Andreas Poulsen and Carlo Holse featured for Denmark.
• Champions in 1988, France finished third in 1996 and fourth two years earlier, also reaching the quarter-finals in 1982, 1984 and 1986.
• France are in the finals for the second successive edition, and are making their fourth appearance overall in an eight or 12-team finals. They have never previously failed to qualify from their group. In 2019, they featured at a U21 EURO for the first time in 13 years; they finished as runners-up in 2002, losing the final on penalties to the Czech Republic, and were beaten by the Netherlands, 3-2 after extra-time, in the last four in 2006.
• Two years ago in Italy, Sylvain Ripoll's team finished second in Group C on seven points, level with Romania but behind on head-to-head record. They beat England (2-1) and Croatia (1-0) before a goalless draw against Romania on Matchday 3; eventual champions Spain proved too strong in the semi-finals, coming from behind to run out 4-1 victors in Reggio Emilia.
• That draw against Romania was the first group game in the U21 finals France had failed to win; they recorded three victories in both 2002 and 2006 before their two successes in 2019.
• Ripoll, who has been in charge since 2017, guided Les Bleuets to these finals as winners of qualifying Group 2, his side picking up 27 points from their ten games to edge out fellow finalists Switzerland for first place after the teams had finished level on points. France's sole defeat was a 3-1 reverse to the Swiss, who they beat by the same scoreline in their final qualifier to claim first place on goal difference.
• Odsonne Édouard's 11 goals in qualifying, which included penalties in four successive matches, made him the second top scorer overall, behind only Eddie Nketiah of England (13 goals).
• France have lost only three of their last 33 European U21 Championship matches (W26 D4).
• This is Denmark's fourth successive U21 final tournament, and a sixth participation in the eight or 12-team finals. They were eliminated in the group stage in 2006, 2011 on home soil, 2017 and 2019, but did reach the semi-finals in 2015, losing 4-1 to eventual champions Sweden.
• Two years ago in Italy, the Danes were eiminated having finished second in Group B behind eventual runners-up Germany having collected six points from their three games (W2 L1).
• Their results in the 2019 finals mean Denmark have won six of their 15 group stage games in the final tournament overall, losing seven. They have drawn none of the last 13.
• A place in the 2015 semi-finals equalled Denmark's most successful U21 campaign; they also reached the last four in 1992 having previously got to the quarter-finals in 1978 and 1986.
• Albert Capellas succeeded Niels Frederiksen as coach after those 2019 finals and oversaw an unbeaten qualifying campaign, his side picking up 26 points from their ten matches (W8 D2) to win Group 8 by six points from Romania.
• Jacob Bruun Larsen provided seven assists in qualifying, more than any other player.
Links and trivia
• Celtic's Édouard scored in both legs against Copenhagen in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League round of 32, although the Danish side still went through after a 1-1 home draw and 3-1 away win. Victor Nelsson appeared in both games for Copenhagen with Mohamed Daramy a late substitute in Glasgow.