Eriksen ends Ir­ish dreams with deadly Aviva tre­ble

Western Mail - - SPORT -

REP IRE­LAND...................1 DEN­MARK .........................5

CHRIS­TIAN Eriksen plun­dered a stun­ning hat-trick as Den­mark shot the Repub­lic of Ire­land’s World Cup dreams down in flames to book their ticket to Rus­sia in em­phatic style.

The Tot­ten­ham mid­fielder, who had been ef­fec­tively shack­led in Copen­hagen on Satur­day evening, took the sec­ond leg of the play-off tie by the scruff of the neck with two su­perb fin­ishes ei­ther side of half-time be­fore lash­ing home a third late on.

In the process, he took his tally for the cam­paign to 11 goals, just two fewer than the Repub­lic man­aged in their 12 games in the com­pe­ti­tion, be­fore sub­sti­tute Nicklas Bendt­ner con­verted a last-minute penalty.

Den­mark boss Age Hareide had fore­cast that old friend Martin O’Neill could not be as neg­a­tive as he had been at the Parken Sta­dium, and was con­fi­dent his play­ers could ex­ploit that.

His as­ser­tion proved as­tute as de­spite tak­ing an early lead through Shane Duffy’s header, Ire­land were sim­ply un­able to find the right bal­ance be­tween at­tack and de­fence af­ter Cyrus Christie’s own goal had re­stored par­ity.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion which had char­ac­terised the Repub­lic pro­gres­sion to the play-offs dis­in­te­grated hor­ri­bly and in the end, they were picked off in ruth­less fash­ion.

AT Wem­b­ley Sta­dium last night Eng­land fol­lowed up their 0-0 draw against Ger­many with the same re­sult against Brazil.

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