5 THINGS WE LEARNED

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER -

1. We have the Na­tions League to thank for the lack of in­ter­na­tional friendly games and there was no friendly edge to this game. That much was clear early on when the Danes were an­noyed at Jeff Hen­drick’s de­ci­sion to play on and try to score af­ter Den­mark had stopped play to al­low treat­ment for Harry Arter. Soon af­ter, Arter earned a yel­low card for a high and fool­ish chal­lenge on Martin Braith­waite, and tack­les did fly in. That doesn’t guar­an­tee qual­ity, though, as this was, in the main, a turgid af­fair best for­got­ten about.

2. Ire­land’s fail­ure to keep pos­ses­sion and pass the ball re­mains in place, no mat­ter the change in per­son­nel. The lack of pass­ing moves from mid­field has been a worry for a long time and was present again at home to Den­mark last night. A set-piece up to Shane Duffy or an op­por­tu­nity from a throw-in is still the most likely source of a goal, but un­til Rob­bie Brady is fit again, Ir­ish de­liv­er­ies from free kicks will re­main poor.

3. Den­mark are a lesser side when they don’t have Chris­tian Erik­sen in the team and men like Pione Sisto (best player on the park) and Thomas De­laney are a step above the tal­ent in the Ir­ish side. The Danes had far more chances to score than Ire­land but Den­mark are beat­able without Erik­sen, and this 0-0 draw was a case of points dropped as the Danes will be stronger in the re­turn fix­ture next month.

4. Mid­field is still a mine­field for Ire­land and Martin O’Neill is still look­ing for his per­fect for­ma­tion there. Harry Arter saved Ire­land’s skin with his goal-line clear­ance to deny Si­mon Kjaer but he strug­gled with his hold­ing mid­field role, Cyrus Christie looked lost for spells, Jeff Hen­drick didn’t im­pact the game in the way he’d have hoped and the craft of some­one like Shaun Wil­liams was left on the bench.

5. Callum Robin­son looks like he is ready to start at this level. The Pre­ston player added some real zest to the Ire­land side when he came on for Harry Arter on 65 min­utes and he played a part in cre­at­ing Ire­land’s best chance – Christie’s shot – on 72 min­utes. If Shane Long is not able to start at home to Wales on Tues­day, a Pre­ston dou­ble act of Robin­son and Sean Maguire would of­fer Ire­land hope of goals.

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