'I'll speak to John Delaney in the next couple of weeks' - O'Neill to have 'a real think' about his future

The Ireland boss accepts that his side were well-beaten by Denmark in their World Cup play-off second leg.

O'Neill during his post-match press conference.
O'Neill during his post-match press conference.
Image: Niall Carson

MARTIN O’NEILL says he will hold talks with FAI chief executive John Delaney after tonight’s World Cup play-off humiliation.

Ireland suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Denmark in their second leg, with Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen bagging a hat-trick.

It was the team’s biggest loss since the Derry man took over four years ago, and he understandably appeared gutted after the final whistle.

“Really disappointed, obviously,” O’Neill began his post-match press conference. “We were well-beaten in the end. We got off to a really good start and had a good chance to make it 2-0. We probably would have needed that. The two goals we conceded in the space of a couple of minutes just knocked us for six really.

They were very poor goals as far as we were concerned, very poor. Of course, it turns the tide and means you’re chasing the game.

“We needed some goals in the second half to try and get back into the game, we made a couple of changes and as we’re trying to press, Denmark took advantage of us and deserved to go through. They beat us convincingly in the end.”


After falling behind having scored the opener through Shane Duffy, O’Neill withdrew Harry Arter and David Meyler to bring on Wes Hoolahan and Aiden McGeady at half-time and admits that those substitutions left them exposed.

“We needed to try get some goals, we needed a little bit of width and what happens is that, in terms of physical strength, you lose that in the side. But you need to get some goals and it wasn’t to be. Denmark made us pay for it.”


A new two-year contract is on the table for O’Neill and his coaching staff and last month he confirmed his plans to sign on for the Euro 2020 campaign. However, the 65-year-old will meet with the association’s CEO after this latest setback.

I haven’t spoken to John since we spoke about it,” he revealed. “I thought there was an agreement – I’ll speak to John in the next couple of weeks.

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“I’ll have to have a real think about it. We were beaten in a play-off game here. We fought tooth and nail to try and get into this position. This wasn’t the first game of a new campaign, this was a play-off match to take us to the World Cup.

“The disappointment is obviously very strong tonight because we haven’t been able to do it, but I have to commend the players on getting this far.”

Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring their third goal with Thomas Delaney Denmark pair Thomas Delaney and Christian Eriksen celebrate. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Asked whether his luck has finally run out, O’Neill dismissed such a suggestion.

“That’s simply not true,” he replied. “I don’t win the trophies that I have won, both as a player and as a manager, and have some luck. Everybody is entitled to a little bit of luck, so I totally disagree with you.

“But we were well-beaten tonight by a side that was technically better than us and have a word class player playing in their team but I don’t agree with you about luck running out.

“It has been a commendable effort by the team and I have won enough trophies as a manager and I was involved in a Uefa Cup final so I must have got some luck to get there.”

Buy The42’s new book, Behind The Lines, here:

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