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'I don't think any Danish player will have disrespect for any Irish player'

Kasper Schmeichel and Danish boss Age Hareide played down the rivalry between the two sides ahead of tomorrow’s Euro 2020 qualifier.

Kasper Schmeichel and Age Hareide .
Kasper Schmeichel and Age Hareide .
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Gavin Cooney reports from The Parken Stadium in Copenhagen

DENMARK INSIST THEY mean no disrespect to Ireland ahead of tomorrow’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Copenhagen. 

The build-up has featured a few Danish quotes about Ireland, some new – Thomas Delaney’s description of Ireland as “very annoying” – and others exhumed – “Ireland were afraid to attack” by Eriksen, Christian in Aarhus, 2018. 

Speaking at today’s pre-game press conference, Demark coach Age Hareide insists there is no bad blood between the sides.

“I haven’t seen the comments”, he said. “I don’t think any Danish player will have disrespect for any Irish player. They are professional players playing at the highest level in England, most of them.” 

Sitting beside him, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel echoed the sentiment. 

“I don’t know of any verbal sniping, it’s news to me, I would never say anything disrespectful towards fellow professionals.

“If you saw my comments after we played Ireland in Dublin they were more than respectful. We have the utmost respect for any team we play, football is a game where there is no right or wrong way of playing, everyone has their style.

“We have ours, Ireland have theirs, theirs is no more correct than ours so I don’t know the comments but I can’t imagine there being any disrespect at all.”

Mick McCarthy cited the Danes’ familiarity with themselves as a strength of theirs in the build-up, but what does Hareide expect of Ireland? 

“We saw the differences in the set-up of the way they wanted to play against Georgia. Even the Gibraltar game was difficult, it was hard to play.

For us, we concentrate on our own play. We don’t think so much about the opposition and what they will do. We try to concentrate on our own way of playing and hope we can handle that in the best possible way, regardless of who we play. We know the Irish team very well because we have played them a lot over the past two years. We know what to expect. They are a strong physical side and well organised.

“If they want to try and press us, that’s okay. We have to be prepared for that as well.”

Christian Eriksen will play tomorrow night, and Schmeichel is confident his Champions League final defeat to Liverpool last Saturday won’t affect his performance against Ireland. 

“Knowing Christian as I do he is obviously hugely disappointed after losing such a big game but, as Age said, all you want after a disappointment like that is to play another game and get it out of your system.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that Christian will be fully motivated because the reward you get for winning games like this, and coming games, is so big in playing at a European Championship.” 

Hareide, meanwhile, has not discussed with Eriksen his comments made to a local media outlet yesterday, in which he cast serious doubt on his future at Spurs. 

“I don’t speak to the players about their club situations. We have a good relationship with the players and I don’t think… it would be a mix up if I try to talk about that.

“I have to concentrate on the national team. Christian loves to play football and I think his focus is on that. He also loves to play for Denmark and that is the main thing for me.”

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Gavin Cooney

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