Eriksen kills off dream

Eriksen serves up Dan­ish past­ing

Daily Star - - Sports - by IAN MURTAGH

CHRIS­TIAN ERIKSEN shot down Ire­land’s World Cup hopes with a stun­ning hat-trick in Dublin last night.

Martin O’Neill had warned his men to shackle the Tot­ten­ham star in the sec­ond leg of this World Cup play-off.

But Eriksen first es­caped his mark­ers in the 32nd minute to smash Den­mark 2-1 ahead.

And he left Ire­land trail­ing fur­ther be­hind with two more goals in the sec­ond half to de­stroy Ire­land’s hopes of reach­ing next sum­mer’s fi­nals in Rus­sia.

The Repub­lic’s hopes reached fever pitch at the Aviva Sta­dium af­ter six min­utes when Shane Duffy rose un­chal­lenged to head home over Dan­ish keeper Kasper Sch­me­ichel.

Daryl Mur­phy and James McClean then missed glo­ri­ous chances and Ire­land were pun­ished when An­dreas Chris­tensen’s scuffed shot hit the post and re­bounded in off Ir­ish de­fender Cyrus Christie’s thigh af­ter 29 min­utes.

Eriksen took over be­fore for­mer Pre­mier League striker Nicklas Bendt­ner fin­ished off the rout from the penalty spot.

THE REPUB­LIC of Ire­land were given a glimpse of the promised land but their World Cup dream was torn to pieces by Tot­ten­ham star Chris­tian Eriksen.

Hope­ful Ir­ish fans were dust­ing off their pass­ports when Shane Duffy gave Martin O’Neill’s men the per­fect start on six min­utes.

But Den­mark scored twice in three first-half min­utes with Eriksen adding to Cyrus Christie’s own goal, leav­ing the fi­nals in Rus­sia look­ing a dis­tant dream.

And when the Spurs mae­stro struck in the 63rd and 74th min­utes, the Repub­lic’s dream had turned into a night­mare.

A late penalty from Nicklas Bendt­ner added fur­ther salt to the wounds. It had all started so well as well. When Nicolai Jor­gensen in­ad­ver­tently touched on a Rob­bie Brady free-kick, Kasper Sch­me­ichel thought the ball was his to col­lect but he had not an­tic­i­pated Duffy’s leap and the de­fender headed the ball over him and into the net.

It needed two ex­cel­lent saves in a minute from Dar­ren Ran­dolph to keep the lead in­tact.

He kept out Wil­liam Kvist’s ef­fort, div­ing low down to his right in the 17th minute, and mo­ments later he pushed a Pione Sisto shot be­hind for a corner.

It wasn’t one-way traf­fic, how­ever. Just as their man­ager had promised, Ire­land car­ried an at­tack­ing threat. Daryl Mur­phy fired inches over the bar when he met Christie’s cross at the near post and James McClean then swept ag­o­nis­ingly wide. The equaliser in the 29th minute had an el­e­ment of good for­tune about it while the Dane’s sec­ond, three min­utes later, was down to rank bad de­fend­ing.

Poked

Fol­low­ing a short corner, Sisto skinned Harry Arter, send­ing a low ball into a crowded goal­mouth.

An­dreas Chris­tensen poked a shot against the up­right and Christie couldn’t avoid nudg­ing the ball over the line.

Stephen Ward will want to for­get his con­tri­bu­tion to­wards Den­mark go­ing ahead. He lost pos­ses­sion inside his own half and when Jor­gensen worked the ball inside to the un­marked Eriksen, the Spurs man’s first-time shot flew in.

O’Neill went for broke at the break, send­ing on Wes Hoola­han and Ai­den McGeady, but Ire­land’s World Cup dream died in the next 30 min­utes.

Eriksen bent home a stun­ning third be­fore cap­i­tal­is­ing on an­other Ward howler to make it 4-1.

When sub­sti­tute Bendt­ner was fouled in the box in stop­page time, he stepped up to end Ire­land’s mis­er­able night.

REP OF IRE (4-3-3): Ran­dolph; Christie, Duffy, Clark, Ward; Hen­drick, Meyler, Arter; McClean, Mur­phy, Brady. Subs: West­wood, Doyle, O’Shea, Mc­Shane, Whe­lan, McGeady, S Long, O’Dowda, Hoola­han, Houri­hane, Ho­gan, K Long.

DEN­MARK (4-2-3-1): Sch­me­ichel; Chris­tensen, Bjel­land, Kjaer, Stryger Larsen; Kvist, De­laney; Poulsen, Eriksen, Sisto; N Jor­gensen. Subs: Ron­now, Lossi, Jensen, Vester­gaard, Ankersen, Bendt­ner, M Jor­gensen, Knud­sen, Braith­waite, Ler­ager, Schone, Corneilus.

Ref­eree: Szy­mon Marciniak (Poland).

CUP HERO: Eriksen

ERIK THE DREAD: Chris­tian Eriksen stuns the Repub­lic with Den­mark’s sec­ond goal

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