(Reuters) - Factbox on the Denmark national team ahead of the 2018 World Cup:
FIFA ranking: 12 (till June 7)
Four appearances, starting in 1986. Their best result is making the quarter-finals in 1998, but they crashed out at the group stage in 2010 and missed the 2014 tournament.
Age Hareiede: The 64-year-old Norwegian enjoyed a modest career as a player before moving into coaching and winning league titles in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
His time in charge at Malmo, during which they won the league and qualified for the Champions League group stage, set him up to take over Denmark when Morten Olsen stepped aside in late 2015.
Christian Eriksen: The Tottenham Hotspur playmaker has developed into one of the world’s most exciting and cerebral attacking talents.
Four-times Danish player of the year, his balance, control and vision have been vital for Denmark since his debut against Austria in 2010, and his 11 goals in qualifying are evidence of the threat he poses to opposing defences.
Kasper Schmeichel: A Premier League winner with Leicester City, the son of former Denmark keeper Peter has stepped out of his father’s shadow to become the number one goalkeeper for club and country.
Schmeichel’s winning mentality, lightning reactions and good distribution will be crucial if Denmark are to survive beyond the group stage.
Simon Kjaer: The linchpin of the Danish defence, the Sevilla centre half is equally comfortable in physical and tactical battles. Excellent positional sense and well able to pick out his forwards with a long pass.
Denmark were missing most of their top players when they slipped to defeats by Sweden and Jordan on their January tour to Abu Dhabi, and a better barometer of their form is the 5-1 thrashing of Ireland in Dublin in November to book their World Cup spot.
How they qualified:
Back-to-back defeats by Poland and Montenegro in their second and third qualifiers almost derailed the Danish challenge early on, but they bounced back on their way to a record of six wins and two draws in 10 matches to secure second spot.
After a drab 0-0 playoff draw against Ireland in Copenhagen, the Danes demolished their opponents in the second leg in Dublin with Eriksen netting a hat-trick in a 5-1 win to qualify for the finals.
Faced with Peru and Australia in their opening two games, the Danes will be aiming for two victories before taking on France in their final Group C clash.
Should they qualify for the knockout stage, they will face a tough game against Argentina, Iceland, Croatia or Nigeria.
Compiled by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond