Delight for the Danes – Ireland dismantled in Playoff

What could have been among the best nights in the history of Irish football quickly turned into arguably the worst as Ireland were thrashed 1-5 by Denmark at the Aviva Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur star Christian Eriksen smashed a magnificent hat trick as the Danes came from a goal down to easily book their place in next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, their first finals since 2010.

The night could not have started much better for the Irish when Shane Duffy headed home a goal with five minutes gone. It could have been even better for the Irish when Daryl Murphy’s side footed effort narrowly went wide of the Danish net a few minutes later.

However, Denmark always looked threatening and after forcing two smart saves from Irish goalkeeper Darren Randolph, finally got their reward in the form of a goal after 29 minutes. Following a short corner where Ireland were caught napping, Chelsea defender Andreas Christenson’s bundled effort hit the post and bounced off unfortunate Cyrus Christie on the line on the way into the net, giving them their crucial away goal.

Just two minutes later, the Danes struck again. Stephen Ward was dispossessed by Yussuf Poulsen, who teed up the excellent Eriksen on the edge of the area, who unleashed an unstoppable curled effort towards goal that went in off the crossbar and put Denmark in dreamland, a place where they would stay for the remainder of the contest.

Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill responded at half time by making two changes, bringing on Aiden McGeady and Wes Hoolahan on for Harry Arter and David Meyler respectively. These changes did the Irish more harm than good, as the lack of defensive midfield players on the field played right into the hands of Denmark.

After just twenty minutes of the second half, any chance of an Irish comeback was emphatically denied.

Christian Eriksen was given acres of space on the edge of the box in the 64th minute and had all the time in the world to pick his spot to curl a left footed strike past the helpless Darren Randolph in the Irish net.

Ten minutes later Eriksen would bag his hat-trick, capitalising on another Stephen Ward error to smash home his third past Randolph from inside the penalty area.

The Irish humiliation did not stop there, as Denmark were awarded a penalty in the 89th minute when substitute Nicklas Bendtner was fouled by James McClean in the box. The Danish cult-hero would easily dispatch his penalty to complete the rout on what turned out to be a chilling night in the history of Irish football.

The Great Danes will now look ahead to the World Cup draw which will take place on 1st December.

A period of uncertainty now awaits the Irish. Martin O’Neill has himself admitted that he needs time to think about whether he will return as Irish manager following the humiliation, so it will be hard for the Irish to look towards the future and Euro 2020 qualification at least until O’Neill’s future is confirmed.

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