Eriksen’s hat-trick destroys Ireland’s World Cup plans
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 manager Age Hareide had forecast that his Republic counterpart and 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 that had characterised the Republic’s progression to the play-offs disintegrated horribly and in the end, they were picked off in ruthless fashion.
O’Neill: “We’re really disappointed. We were well beaten in the end. The two goals we conceded within a couple of minutes knocked us. They were really poor goals to concede. We had to chase the game and Denmark took advantage. They deserved to go through.
“We had two great chances to make it 2-0. We needed either of those to go in to get a real foothold in the game. That didn’t happen and Denmark were clinical.” ITALY’S manager Giampiero Ventura is set to learn his fate today after the Azzurri failed to reach the World Cup for the first time in 60 years.
Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio has called a meeting to discuss the country’s failure to qualify for next year’s tournament in Russia.
Gianluigi Buffon was one of several star names to call time on their international careers, bringing the curtain down on his 175-cap stint after Monday’s goalless draw with Sweden in Milan, which saw them lose their qualifying play-off 1-0 and meant that the four-time world champions would be absent from next year’s finals.
It is the first time since 1958 that an Italian team has not qualified for a World Cup and the fallout has reverberated around the game, with Italian newspaper
hailing the arrival of the ‘“apocalypse”.
Tavecchio said: “We are deeply bitter and disappointed for the failure to qualify for the World Cup, it is a sports failure that needs a shared solution and for this reason I called a meeting (for today with all the
Scored three as Denmark came from behind to win 5-1 in Ireland.
Was late for post-match conference as he said goodbye to Italy’s players.