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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
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UGH, NOT THE bloody Danes again.

Having faced either four times over the past 18 months, these two nations are well and truly sick of the sight of each other by now.

Yet, here we are.

Three of those meetings ended in utterly forgettable 0-0 draws — the one exception, of course, being the night that Christian Eriken made mugs of Martin O’Neill’s side in Dublin.

As The42’s Gavin Cooney so eloquently put it in his tee-up to tonight’s game:

The 5-1 World Cup play-off defeat still lingers as a kind of half-scrubbed nightclub stamp on our arm, an ungainly reminder of a night that began happily only to descend to a haze of regret, shame, and poor decisions.

The Nations League draws that followed were the miserable dry wretches of the hangover.”

Alas, the doom and gloom of those final O’Neill days has gone with the departure of the now-Nottingham Forest boss and the familiar sight of Mick McCarthy’s calming presence back in front of the Irish media has brought some comfort, at least.

Given just one two-year campaign before Stephen Kenny’s planned appointment, he couldn’t have asked for a much easier start to the Euro 2020 qualifiers. A pair of 1-0 wins, over minnows Gibraltar and the improving Georgia, mean the Boys in Green sit top of Group D ahead of this latest double-header — albeit the Danes have only played one game so far.

Encouragingly, there was a confidence and structure to the Georgian performance in March that gave Irish fans reason to feel quietly upbeat about McCarthy’s second spell in charge.

With Nations League semi-finalists Switzerland also in the group, however, tonight’s fixture at the Telia Parken will provide a genuine test to measure the impact Ireland’s current manager has had so far.

Kick-off is 7.45pm and the teams have just been announced, so I’ll bring them to you in a sec.

It doesn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that McCarthy has stuck with the side that defeat Georgia last time out. That means it’s Darren Randolph in goal, and a back four of Seamus Coleman, Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh and Enda Stevens, who appears to have made the left-back position his own over the past 12 months. 

In midfield, Glenn Whelan and his now-former Aston Villa team-mate Conor Hourihane provide cover, while Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady and James McClean will be tasked with supporting lone striker David McGoldrick, who was excellent at the Aviva Stadium in March despite not scoring. 

One player who can again feel disappointed to be left out is Wolves wide man Matt Doherty — named on the bench. 

The home side bring back Chelsea’s Andreas Christiansen for Mathias Jorgensen of Huddersfield Town, but the other 10 players started in their 3-3 draw against Switzerland. 

Pione Sisto is unavailable through injury, but star man Christian Eriksen features just six days after losing out to Liverpool in the Champions League final in Madrid. 

 

Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel; Stryger Larsen, Andreas Christiansen, Simon Kjaer (c), Henrik Dalsgaard; Lasse Schone, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen; Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jorgensen, Martin Braithwaite.

 

Ireland: Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman (c), Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh, Enda Stevens; Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, James McClean; David McGoldrick.

Irish fans have enjoying themselves around Copenhagen this afternoon… 

Ireland fans enjoy a game of heads and volleys Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Mark O'Neill and Conor Ryan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Páidí Feehan with her dad Billy Feehan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

In tonight’s other Group D game, Georgia have beaten Gibraltar 3-0 in Tbilisi thanks to goals from Valeriane Gvilia, Giorgi Papunashvili and Vato Arveladze.

Scenes out on the pitch a few moments ago as McCarthy chats to Denmark boss Age Hareide: 

Mick McCarthy with Age Hareide before the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

James Talbot, Callum Robinson and Sean Maguire before the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

James McClean, Matt Doherty, Kevin Long and Shane Duffy before the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Speaking on the RTE panel, Didi Hamann has given Ireland some hope — saying he feels the Danish team are “overrated”.

Here’s a clip of the former Liverpool and Germany defender looking at the home side: 

Okay, I’d like to hear your predicts. Which way will tonight’s game go? 


Poll Results:

Draw  (82)
Ireland win  (71)
Denmark win  (68)



And here’s some last-minute pre-match reading: 

 

The stadium is awash with red and white flags as both sets of players emerge from the tunnel. Ireland’s fans who’ve travelled are down in the right corner of the ground. 

The anthems are out of the way and we’re watching the two sets of players shaking hands before a coin toss between Denmark Simon Kjaer and opposite number Seamus Coleman. 

Ireland win the toss but before we can start there’s a moment to remember former Uefa president Lennart Johansson, who died earlier this week.  

Flag 1Mins

Kick-off – The Danes gets us going and they go long into the corner. The home side are in their home kit of red and white, while Ireland wear a change strip — white with green shorts. 

3Mins

Hourihane leaves an early one on Schöne and Denmark are awarded a free-kick. Moments later, Duffy makes a well-timed challenge. 

4Mins

Brady kills a long ball with superb control and feeds Coleman, who wins Ireland their first corner of the night. Hourihane puts it into a dangerous area but Christensen is well-placed to head clear. 

8Mins

The Danes break in numbers after Ireland give away possession in midfield, but the visitors win the ball outside their own box and hack clear. 

11Mins

Free-kick to Denmark in a dangerous position as Hourihane bowls over Schöne 30 yards out from goal. 

Eriksen steps up and aims one towards the corner, where Randolph has to scramble to get across and bat it behind for a corner. 

13Mins

More pressure from the Danes - Braithwaite runs forward with purpose and drives the ball at the Irish goal. Once again, the Middesbrough stopper reads it well to make a smart save. 

17Mins

Super tackle from Stevens on Poulsen. The former Shamrock Rovers full-back has looked assured early on.

21Mins

So close! Dalsgaard fouls McClean and Ireland have a decent opportunity from a set-piece midway inside the Danish half. 

Hourihane floats one beautifully to the back post and Duffy makes contact but, somehow, Schmeichel smothers the ball on the line. 

That was a huge chance to take the lead! 

24Mins

The Danes now threaten… Down the other end, Stevens brings down Poulsen in the corner and Eriksen drills the free-kick to the front post, where Keogh half-clears with his head. 

Eriken sends a cross back in, and it drops to Poulsen but his effort is deflected behind for a corner. 

This time, Thomas Delaney meets the delivery but can’t direct it on target. The Borussia Dortmund man is hurt after catching a boot from McGoldrick. 

28Mins

The Danes are looking increasingly dangerous here. They break and McClean clatters Poulsen, who in turn collides with Whelan.

The counter-attack is still on though and Eriksen gears up to have a strike on the edge of the box. Incredibly, Duffy makes a fine challenge to snuff out the danger.

Wonderful tackle. 

30Mins

Booking – Hourihane has picked up a yellow card for taking down Eriksen. The Spurs man isn’t happy, and flicks his hand out at the Corkman to say as much. 

The resulting free-kick is straight into the hands of Randolph. 

33Mins

Eriksen feeds Poulsen and, with the defence backing off him, the RB Leipzig winger has a crack from distance. It’s high and wide, however. 

43Mins

Ireland have got a better grasp on the game in the last few minutes and they’re dealing well with what Denmark have been throwing at them. They haven’t got things going in the opposing half, however, and McGoldrick has had to feed off scraps thus far. 

45Mins

Ireland attack late in the first half with a corner followed by good work from Coleman on the opposite flank. It eventually amounts to nothing, however. 

One minute of added time to play. 

Flag 46Mins

Half-time: Denmark 0-0 Ireland 

There’s the whistle and we’ve reached the break. The FAI’s interim boss, former League of Ireland goalkeeper Noel Mooney, is in attendance tonight. 

Noel Mooney at the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Flag 46Mins

Second-half: The game has restarted, as Ireland attack from left to right for the second 45 minutes. 

49Mins

Ireland have won a free-kick in the Denmark half and it’s Hourihane to take once again. As usual, he aims towards Duffy but the defender concedes a free-kick for pushing. 

53Mins

What a save! Jorgensen shows great skill to control a high ball with his chest and slip Poulsen through. The 24-year-old goes past one challenge and looks favourite to score, but the outstretched foot of Randolph keeps him at bay. Phhhew!

56Mins

Now it’s Ireland’s turn. Brady picks up possession 20 yards out and threads a pass to McClean out wide. His first instinct is to shoot and Schmeichel saves at his near post, with Irish team-mates screaming for the ball inside. 

Moments later, Brady whips a cross in from the right and a glancing header from McGoldrick sails just over.  

58Mins

Two more golden opportunities for Denmark to score – Firstly, Eriksen blasts over from a narrow angle. Then, Poulsen, who has been a danger, drives through Ireland’s defence and the visitors need a last-ditch Hourihane tackle to keep his effort out. 

The game is extremely open right now. 

63Mins

He should be hitting the target there! Braithwaite is teed up by Poulsen, but see his attempt go over the Irish crossbar. 

Minutes later, Jorgensen is through on goal but this time he leans back and shoots over. 

Ireland are blessed that their opponents have been guilty of some really poor finishing. 

64Mins

Substitution – The Danes are taking off Braithwaite for Ajax striker Kasper Dolberg. 

Over on the Irish bench, Alan Judge is preparing himself for introduction. 

65Mins

Ireland change – Here comes Judge and it’s a fellow Dubliner, Robbie Brady, making way. 

67Mins

That Ireland switch has seen Hendrick move out to the right, while Judge slots in behind McGoldrick. 

69Mins

Larsen shoves over Hendrick and then proceeds to kick the ball at the Burnley midfielder. Before things can escalate, skipper Coleman puts himself in between the two players. Top man. 

72Mins

Delaney heads off target for the hosts in what is yet another wasted chance. Schöne then gets his angles completely wrong to fire well wide, before he is withdrawn for Southampton’s Pierre Hojbjerg. 

73Mins

McGoldrick holding up the ball under pressure from Christensen.

David McGoldrick and Andreas Christensen Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

76Mins

GOAL! Denmark 1-0 Ireland (Pierre Hojbjerg)

There’s the opener, and it’s come for the home team. The substitute times his run perfectly to arrive late in the box — connecting with the cross to glance his header past the Ireland goalkeeper.

They’ve had the better of the chances and you could argue that it was coming. 

82Mins

McCarthy’s going for it – Scott Hogan has been brought on for Hourihane as Ireland go in search of an equaliser. The Aston Villa striker, who was on loan at Sheffield United last season, will lead the line now as McGoldrick drops a little deeper. 

86Mins

GOAL! Denmark 1-1 Ireland (Shane Duffy) 

IRELAND ARE LEVEL! Christensen fouls Judge, and he dusts himself off to take the free-kick. 

A brilliant ball in is met by the head of Duffy, who powers past Schmeichel. The camera switches to McCarthy, who’s fist-pumping the air on the sideline. 

It’s only taken five games, but Ireland have finally scored against the Danes! 

90Mins

During all the excitement, McGoldrick was taken off for Callum Robinson. 

And his first action is to break down the right. The Preston forward tries to cushion a pass into the path of Hogan, but it’s a little overhit. 

McClean comes onto it late and shoots, but Schmeichel gets down to save. 

Full-time: Denmark 1-1 Ireland

We’ll take that! Ireland and Denmark draw once again, but the away side showed great spirit to come back from a goal down to level terms. 

Hareide will be kicking himself after watching his players miss a rake of chances, while McCarthy should be pleased — having said he’d happily take a point in the build-up. 

Ireland top the group with seven points from three matches, and they should add another three on Monday with a routine win over Gibraltar. 

A great start to the campaign. 

About the author:

Ben Blake

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