Den­mark qual­i­fies for World Cup with 5-1 rout of Ire­land

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Three points from Tues­day's UEFA play­off as Den­mark booked a place at the 2018 World Cup with an em­phatic 5-1 win over Ire­land.

With three goals from three chances, Chris­tian Eriksen rock­eted Den­mark to Rus­sia. Ire­land had sim­ply no an­swer to Tot­ten­ham's play­maker as his dis­play of Dan­ish dy­na­mite de­stroyed their dream of reach­ing a first fi­nals since 2002.

In­stead, Den­mark will make their first ap­pear­ance at a World Cup since 2010, when Eriksen, just 18, was the youngest player at the tour­na­ment. Next sum­mer, as a 26-year-old, he will travel as his na­tion's un­doubted tal­is­man and hero. His was a dis­play that ut­terly ru­ined what had been a night tinged with pre-match op­ti­mism and had started so brightly for the hosts in Dublin.

De­fender Shane Duffy sent the Aviva Sta­dium into rap­tures when scor­ing with a set-piece header af­ter just six min­utes. Rob­bie Brady's ball for­ward brought a hur­ried at­tempt to vol­ley clear from Nicolai Jor­gensen and Duffy was on hand to nod over Kasper Sch­me­ichel, who got his po­si­tion­ing all wrong.

Al­most im­me­di­ately, the onus was on Den­mark and they re­sponded. Ire­land goal­keeper Dar­ren Ran­dolph made a fine, full-length save from a Wil­liam Kvist drive in the 17th minute, and soon fol­lowed that up with a smart stop of a Pione Sisto snap­shot.

Ire­land were al­ready mak­ing the hur­ried clear­ances that tired play­ers make in the dy­ing em­bers of matches and des­per­ately needed an­other goal to both steady nerves and break the Danes' spirit. Good chances that fell to Daryl Mur­phy and James McClean had man­ager Martin O'Neill hop­ping in ag­i­ta­tion when they were dragged wide and when Sisto es­caped down the left af­ter a short corner, Ire­land's de­fence fa­tally lost its shape. Chelsea's An­dreas Chris­tensen seized on the ball and though his shot was hardly con­vinc­ing, Cyrus Christie got him­self in a tan­gle and could not stop him­self de­flect­ing the ball over the line.

The Mid­dles­brough de­fender will doubt­less have night­mares over a clumsy and un­for­tu­nate fail­ure to clear the ball. It proved to be the mo­ment to set the tone for an evening of agony. Com­ing in the 29th minute, it si­lenced a pre­vi­ously deaf­en­ing noise level from the home fans and the Danes im­me­di­ately re­cov­ered their jolted con­fi­dence.

Eriksen's first goal three min­utes later was a thing of beauty, struck with a class that gave Ran­dolph no chance. It was a chip that paired pre­ci­sion and power af­ter an er­ror by Stephen Ward gave him a clean shot on goal.

The hosts' fa­bled rock-solid de­fend­ing had gone hor­ri­bly soft and af­ter scor­ing just just six goals in 10 qual­i­fy­ing games, O'Neill's team were in un­charted ter­ri­tory.

Their ef­forts af­ter half-time be­trayed a grow­ing panic and af­ter McClean, fren­ziedly har­ing around in search of an im­pos­si­ble come­back, lost pos­ses­sion, Eriksen curled in his sec­ond goal af­ter 63 min­utes.

He would not stop there. Ward made an­other mis­take, slip­ping and pre­sent­ing Eriksen with a close-range hat-trick chance he would not refuse.

In the 90th minute, Nicklas Bendt­ner's strike added in­sult to the Ire­land side's deeply in­jured pride.

Den­mark's task seemed fairly sim­ple: try to tempt the Ir­ish from their de­fen­sive shell and as coach Age Hareide had ad­mit­ted be­fore the match, get Eriksen far more time on the ball than he'd en­joyed dur­ing that turgid 0-0 draw in Copen­hagen.

Yes­ter­day Ire­land-Den­mark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-5

Friendly In­ter­na­tional

Yes­ter­day South Korea-Ser­bia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 China-Colom­bia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-4 United Arab Emi­rates-Uzbek­istan . . 1-0 Gabon-Botswana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-0 Ar­gentina-Nige­ria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-4 Qatar-Ice­land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 Slo­vakia-Nor­way . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-0 Rus­sia-Spain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-3 Ro­ma­nia-Netherlands . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-3 Hun­gary-Costa Rica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-0 Al­ge­ria-Cen­tral Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-0 Aus­tria-Uruguay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1 Bel­gium-Ja­pan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-0 Ger­many-France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-2 Wales-Panama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 Eng­land-Brazil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-0 Por­tu­gal-USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.