things we learned
The Danes pinpointed Ireland’s right side as a weak spot. Simon Kjaer played numerous diagonal balls on top of Cyrus Christie and their best chance came after 11 minutes when right winger Callum O’Dowda was caught napping. Jens Stryger Larsen’s shot was palmed in the direction of Andreas Cornelius and Darren Randolph was alert to make another fine save.
Ireland’s best move involved Middlesbrough (Cyrus Christie), Nottingham Forest (Daryl Murphy) and Bristol City (Callum O’Dowda) when, down that right side which Denmark felt was vulnerable, Christie showed tremendous pace to get the better of Jens Stryger Larsen and drive into the box where his shot was well saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
Who’d be a striker?
Daryl Murphy flogged himself for 74 minutes before being put of his misery and replaced by Shane Long. There were times when the 34-year-old veteran was too slow to react to breaking balls but it was hard not to have sympathy for him considering how isolated he was.
So often you hear how the modern footballer is mollycoddled and mentally weak, but this Ireland team are resolute and defiant. Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark were the enforcers – the Mitchell brothers of the back four with better hair – who delivered a vital clean sheet.
The Brady dilemma
This goalless draw simplifies things in Dublin. They have to win. A score draw will see the Danes go through on away goals and, on the evidence of this, victory is not beyond Martin O’Neill’s side. Set-pieces must improve, though, and if Robbie Brady cannot find consistency than the Ireland boss must look for alternatives.