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Dublin: 7°C Monday 19 April 2021

Ireland relegated from Nations League group as Denmark beat Wales

Martin O’Neill’s side will now definitely be third seeds in the Euro 2020 qualifying draw.

IRELAND’S RELEGATION TO the third tier of the Nations League was confirmed today, as Denmark beat Wales 2-1 in Cardiff.

The result means Martin O’Neill’s side will finish bottom of Group 4 and suffer relegation to League C irrespective of what happens when they meet the Danes on Monday.

The outcome is also bad news for the Irish team with regard to the Euro 2020 qualifying draw, as they will be third seeds.

Victory saw Denmark top Group B4 and secure promotion to League A.

Nicolai Jorgensen finished off a superb counter-attack to put the visitors in front three minutes before half-time at the Cardiff City Stadium before Martin Braithwaite’s 88th-minute strike doubled the Danes’ lead.

There was still time for Wales to pull one back through Gareth Bale’s 31st international goal, but five minutes of stoppage-time proved insufficient for Ryan Giggs’ men to find an equaliser.

Denmark, who reached the last 16 of this year’s World Cup in Russia, are now guaranteed a play-off to qualify for Euro 2020, should they fail to reach the finals during regular qualifying.

Wales almost took the lead after nine minutes when Paul Dummett, in his first competitive start or the country, found Bale 25 yards out.

But Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel — the son of Giggs’ former Manchester United team-mate Peter — managed to claw away the Real Madrid star’s attempt.

Dummett’s evening came to an unfortunate end when he went off injured, but his exit allowed substitute Chris Gunter to equal goalkeeping great Neville Southall’s Wales record of 92 caps.

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Minutes later, an open game saw Denmark take the lead.

Wales’ Tom Lawrence lost possession some 25 yards from the Denmark goal.

Thomas Delaney sent Yussuf Poulsen racing down the right and Jorgensen, making excellent ground in support, ran to reach his pass and guide the ball between the legs of Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Both teams created chances in the second half, David Brooks going close for Wales with a shot from the edge of the box before a breakaway saw Poulsen shoot over the top of the crossbar from just inside the area in the 76th minute.

Schmeichel, with a save his celebrated father would have admired, produced a superb stop to keep out a Bale free-kick from 25 yards that appeared destined for the top corner.

The Danes appeared to have put the result beyond doubt when Braithwaite beat Hennessey with a powerful shot.

But Bale, racing onto a 40-yard through ball from Ashley Williams, gave Wales a lifeline 60 seconds later.

Additional reporting by AFP

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Paul Fennessy

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