WORLD CUP DREAM COMES CRASHING DOWN FOR REPUBLIC
AFTER holding Denmark to a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Copenhagen on Saturday night, Irish fans arrived at the Aviva stadium in confident mood.
And they were celebrating when Shane Duffy headed the Republic into a fifth minute lead.
James McClean went close to making it 2-0, but it proved a false dawn as Denmark — and Eriksen — seized control.
Once Cyrus Christie’s own-goal just before the half-hour had levelled the match, Eriksen stamped his class all over it.
He put the Danes in front three minutes later, rounding off a wonderfully-worked team move.
Eriksen’s stylish second — Denmark’s third — in the 64th minute all but killed off the tie.
And the Tottenham midfielder completed his hat-trick, crashing home the Danes’ fourth of the night with 17 minutes remaining.
A stoppage time Nicklas Bendtner penalty completed a catastrophic night for the Republic.
Ulsterman O’Neill said: “We got off to a great start and perhaps James — the second goal — might have made a big, big difference.
“But we conceded those two really sloppy goals — the second one is just a comedy of errors.
“The whole mindset then changes and you’re 2-1 down within a period of a couple of minutes when six or seven minutes earlier you might have been 2-0 up.”
O’Neill admitted they had blown a great opportunity.
He added: “I’m naturally disappointed because, a couple of nights ago in Copenhagen, we fought very strongly.
“Tonight was our opportunity. We thought we could win the game and the start that we got was great, but we definitely needed the second goal.”
Asked if it was a humiliation,
All over now: Martin O’Neill feels the pain last night