Hareide not afraid of Ire­land’s phys­i­cal threat

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - KEITH DUG­GAN

Den­mark man­ager Åge Hareide has waved away the pos­si­bil­ity that Ire­land will out-muscle his team in Copen­hagen. Hareide nod­ded when it was put to him that Wales in­ter­na­tional Joe Allen, who left the field with a con­cus­sion in the first half of Ire­land’s 1-0 away win, was an ex­am­ple of the pos­si­ble con­se­quences of Ire­land’s com­bat­ive ap­proach. It’s a sce­nario that holds no fears for him.

“No not re­ally,” he said be­fore Den­mark’s fi­nal run-out. “I think the ref­eree will con­trol that part of the game. We know the Ir­ish are phys­i­cal but they are not dirty. They chal­lenge from the ball and that’s al­lowed in foot­ball. We know that . . . dur­ing the cam­paign we have met teams that are phys­i­cal and you have to al­low for ev­ery­thing.”

Chris­tian Erik­sen is ex­pected to come un­der very close scru­tiny when the home team are in pos­ses­sion but the Tot­ten­ham star was in­dif­fer­ent to the prospect of be­ing sin­gled-out for a man-mark­ing role.

Man-marked

“I have been man-marked be­fore. I don’t mind . . . if Ire­land will do that. I don’t mind if they do. It prob­a­bly means more space for other play­ers and with the qual­ity we have I think we could take ad­van­tage of that. But it is Ire­land’s de­ci­sion and for me it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter.”

Erik­sen and his team-mates know what to ex­pect, though. Any chinks of space in the Ir­ish cover will be down to their abil­ity to cre­ate some­thing out of very lit­tle.

“We are try­ing to get the best re­sult pos­si­ble. These are two games where any­thing can hap­pen re­ally. If you have a team that wants to play and one team that doesn’t want to play, then the game can be­come dragged out. But we want to cre­ate chances. 0-0 would be a good re­sult for them.”

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