World Cup Play-off – Denmark
Denmark are all that stands in our way of a place in the World Cup in Russia next summer. Denmark will be no pushovers, however, Irish fans will be pleased with the draw which saw them avoid Italy, Switzerland, and Croatia. The Boy’s in green will travel to Copenhagen first on Saturday November 11th, before hosting the Dane’s in Dublin the following Tuesday.
Denmark finished second in Group E, behind Poland. They are a threat in front of goal, scoring 20 in qualifying compared to Irelands 12. They impressed with big away wins in Kazakhstan and Armenia. Their best performance in the group was a 4-0 thumping of Poland at home in September. Draws with Romania and a home defeat to Montenegro showed up weaknesses which Ireland will hope to exploit.
Denmark’s star player is Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen. He scored 8 goals in qualifying and is in fantastic form. He impressed in Tottenham’s match against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu attracting the attention of Barcelona who are rumoured to be targeting him as a future signing. Martin O’Neil has highlighted Eriksen as the main threat to Irish qualification and knows we must stop him to have any hope of making the group stages of the World Cup.
Another one to watch is Werder Bremen’s Thomas Delaney. The Danish midfielder may have Irish roots dating back to the 18th century (unfortunately the Granny rule doesn’t apply in this case), but he has every intention of crushing Irelands World Cup dream. He has an eye for goal and is excellent at shooting from a distance.
Kasper Schmeichel is a name that most Irish fans will be familiar with. Son of legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. He was part of the famous Leicester City team who won the 2015/16 Premier League against the odds. Schmeichel’s performances of late have been brought in to question. His positioning was questioned when he conceded a goal from a West Brom free kick recently. Irish fans will be hoping for a repeat mistake when the countries face off.
Ireland have played Denmark 13 times in the past. They’ve won 5, lost 3, and there have been 5 draws. The Boy’s in green will be hoping to maintain their positive record against the Dane’s.