World Cup playoff: Denmark v Republic of Ireland

Ireland take on the Danes in Parken Stadium, Copenhagen in the first leg of their World Cup playoff

Patrick Madden Sat, Nov 11
LIVE: World Cup playoff: Denmark v Republic of Ireland

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  • Good evening!

    1990, 1994, 2002. . . 2018?

    Tonight Ireland take on Denmark in Copenhagen bidding to take a huge stride towards a first World Cup appearance since those heady days of Japan and South Korea.

    Martin O'Neill's men booked their place in the playoffs by virtue of a rousing victory over Wales in Cardiff last time out - the latest in a string of great Irish sporting nights this team have provided.

    If they can deliver two more, a place in Russia next summer awaits.

    When the draw for the playoffs was made last month the general consensus was it had been kind to Ireland. But the Danes, with the impish Christian Eriksen at the heart of all they do, are no mugs.

    With the second leg to come at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday qualification can't be secured tonight - but Ireland need to make sure they have something tangible to bring back to Dublin.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action throughout - so get settled and keep everything crossed.

    Come on!!!!


    Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel, Peter Ankersen, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Bjelland, Jens Stryger Larsen; Thomas Delaney, William Kvist, Christian Eriksen; Andreas Cornelius, Nicolia Jorgensen, Pione Sisto.

    IRELAND: Darren Randolph, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark (c), Stephen Ward; Robbie Brady, Harry Arter, Jeff Hendrick; James McClean, Daryl Murphy, Callum O’Dowda.

  • Callum O'Dowda, tonight is your night.
  • David Meyler aside (he's serving a one-game suspension), Martin O'Neill has been able to name an unchanged XI from the side which beat Wales 1-0 in Cardiff.

    Glenn Whelan had been expected to replace Meyler in midfield but O'Neill has made the refreshing decision to start 22-year-old O'Dowda instead.

    The Bristol City midfielder impressed in the 2-0 win over Moldova, and while this is a big step up he is likely to provide a far more sprightly and positive presence in the Irish midfield than the creaking Whelan.

  • And so otherwise it's as you were for Ireland, with the now settled back five of Randolph-Christie-Duffy-Clark-Ward all present and correct.

    Jeff Hendrick had been an injury worry earlier in the week but he's recovered from a glute problem.

    O'Dowda is expected to start alongside Hendrick and Harry Arter in a midfield three with Robbie Brady and James McClean flanking Daryl Murphy.

  • Ireland make their way onto the Parken Stadium pitch to stretch their legs - 40 mins until kick off.
  • You can read Keith Duggan's pre-match thoughts from Denmark  HERE.

    While Emmet Malone - still smarting after being asked to pay €7 for a coffee in Copenhagen - has previewed the match HERE.  

  • And what about the Danes? Any original joy at drawing Age Hareide's side - thus avoiding Italy and Croatia - soon subsided when everyone began to realise they're actually not too bad.

    All the focus will naturally be on Christian Eriksen. He has been one of the catalysts for Tottenham's resurgence since joining them from Ajax in 2013, and can be considered genuinely world class.  

    Elsewhere they have the pretty good Dane - Kasper Schmeichel - between the sticks, with skipper Simon Kjaer offering plenty of experience at centre-half.

    Eriksen lines up in midfield alongside Thomas Delaney (no relation) and William Kvist. Ahead of them Cardiff City flop Andreas Cornelius joins Celta Vigo's impressive Pione Sisto and Feyenoord's Nicolai Jorgensen - who was a summer target for Everton.

  • Thousands of Irish - with and without tickets - have travelled to Denmark. Hundreds of them have spent the day whooping and hollering at the customers of the Copenhagen branch of Victoria's Secret, whose location next door to an Irish pub has probably never been a real issue until now.

    Where are you watching the match tonight? get in touch!

  • The teams are in the tunnel in Copenhagen.
  • Away goals are in play, by the way, so a score draw would be a very handy result for Ireland.
  • The Danish supporters hold up a huge red and white mosaic as the players come onto the pitch - with the odd green pocket of sabotage.
  • The end of the anthems is greeted by a raft of red fireworks being let off from the top of each stand. They're putting on a show, the Danes. Let's hope it's all a bit premature.
  • Eight of the Irish side tonight are a booking away from missing next week's second leg - Hendrick, Brady and O'Dowda the only three not on a final warning.
  • Right then, all the best.


  • 1 min: Not the silkiest of starts, a serious of high balls are punted from end to end. Duffy wins a free-kick which Brady slings towards the Danish box. Denmark clear but Ireland have possession.
  • 2 min: Denmark enjoy a spell of possession inside the irish final third but Brady nips ahead of Eriksen. The ball is played towards Cornelius at the back post - expect to see plenty of balls angled in towards the lanky forward.
  • 3 min: McClean gets away with one - he loses the ball to Eriksen and gives the Spurs schemer a tug on the arm just outside the Irish box, but the ref says nothing doing. Cornelius harries Clark down the right channel but pushes the Irish skipper, who earns a pressure-relieving free-kick.
  • 5 min: It's been a good start from the hosts, they're keeping the ball nicely. Ireland, as you'd expect, keeping their shape well.
  • 6 min: Delaney wins the ball well in midfield and releases Eriksen, who scampers towards the Irish box and tries to get a shot off - but Christie is across well to dispossess him.
  • 7 min: O'Dowda gets on the ball for the first time but his touch down the left is heavy. Christie winds up and launches the resulting throw-in into the Danish box, where Clark is pinged for a soft foul.
  • 9 min: Denmark seeing all of the ball, but Ireland remain well organised and the hosts are repeatedly forced into trying to switch the play with raking passes.
  • 12 min: Well done Darren Randolph. Kjaer opens up Ireland with a stunning ball from deep to Larsen, who gets in behind and tests the Irish 'keeper with a volley across goal. Randolph parries as far as Cornelius, but he's up quickly to smother the second effort.

    Ireland caught napping there.

  • 13 min: Denmark looking to play over Ireland rather than through them. Midfielder Kvist is almost playing as a third centre-half, allowing the fullbacks to bomb on.
  • 17 min: Another sustained spell of Dnaish possession comes to an end when Christie intercepts well on the right. The ball loops high and Murphy gets his first touch of the game, deep inside the Irish half. Ireland are stuck so deep when they do get the ball it's nigh on impossible to get into the Danish half.
  • 19 min: Murphy doesn't have the tireless running of Shane Long meaning the Danish centre-halves - Kjaer in particular - have ages to pick their passes.
  • 20 min: Relief for Ireland as Kjaer tips over Murphy, conceding a free kick. Brady lumps it into the box but Cornelius is strong under the challenge of Duffy.
  • 22 min: Denmark still owning the ball but unable to play through Ireland. Eriksen switches the play for Ankersen and gets it back off the fullback, before shooting from distance. His left-footed effort is very easy for Randolph.
  • 24 min: Kvist hooks a bouncing ball into the box and Duffy is up well to head behind ahead of Cornelius. Corner ball Denmark.

    Sisto goes short to Eriksen whose cross is blocked, and the second ball doesn't beat the first man.

  • 25 min: Brady gets on the ball for the first time and finds McClean down the left channel - he's caught late by Kvist and Ireland have a free kick in a good position.
  • 26 min: Brady is over the ball just inside the touchline, but Denmark clear at the first time of asking.
  • 28 min: Denmark probing on the edge, Ireland keeping their shape well. Eriksen lays it off to Jorgensen who drags a shot wide from distance. Perhaps a bit of impatience creeping into the host's play.
  • 32 min: What a miss! Ireland get away with one there. Schmeichel goes long but a loose touch form Clark falls perfectly for the on-rushing Eriksen. Eriksen takes a touch and shoots straight at Randolph, who parries into the path of Sisto on the left of the Irish box - but he fizzes his follow-up effort wide. Big, big let off.
  • 36 min: Ireland pressing but they're incredibly deep, Denmark able to coast up towards the final third with ease. Neat play on the right between Kvist, Eriksen and Ankersen releases the right back, but his decision to lace the cross is a poor one, and it floats over Randolph's bar.
  • 38 min: First glimpse for Ireland. Clark switches the play to Ward and he plays a searching ball to McClean down the left. His first cross is deflected high into the air but he does brilliantly to get to the bouncing ball and find O'Dowda on the edge. He takes a touch but the ball won't drop in time as he lines up the volley.
  • 40 min: A bit better from Ireland, and a bit of width. McClean can't get on a cross from the right, then one of his own just evades O'Dowda. It's not a lot, but you've got to take what you can get.
  • 43 min: Excellent from Christie. He's played in down the right and he pushes it beyond fullback Larsen and collects the ball on the other side, driving into the box and forcing a save from Schmeichel. Hendrick follows up but his shot is deflected behind for a corner.
  • 44 min: Brady swings the corner in but Denmark head it clear comfortably enough.
  • Not the most enthralling 45 minutes of football, but nobody was expecting a classic. O'Neill will be pleased with that showing - a few chances aside Ireland have frustrated the Danes and finished the half strongly.
  • The teams are back out in Copenhagen.


  • 47 min: We pick up where we left off, with Ireland sitting with Denmark knocking it around and mixing it up with some long diagonals.
  • 48 min: Lazy foul from Clark, straight through the back of Cornelius. Yet more Danish possession in the Irish half, Ireland reluctant to press too high.
  • 50 min: A burst down the left from McClean and he's incensed when the Danes are awarded a throw-in. Luckily he reels it in fairly quickly - a yellow for mouthing off wouldn't be the smartest move.
  • 53 min: Denmark look to up the tempo on the edge but it goes loose after Jorgensen's dummy doesn't come off. The Danes still unable to pick a route through Ireland.
  • 55 min: A pretty ugly passage of play sees both sides give the ball away before the Danes settle on it again. Ireland yet to give though, and Hendrick breaks up the play well on the edge.

    Free kick launched into the Danish box but Duffy uses Cornelius as a climbing frame and is rightly penalised.

  • 58 min: Good work from Christie on the right and his cross is just too big for Murphy. It falls for Brady at the back post and he doesn't see the run of Ward on the overlap, instead crossing towards O'Dowda. It's cleared as far as Christie whose poor touch allows Eriksen to break.
  • 59 min: Denmark corner on the right after Eriksen's cross is blocked - his delivery is turned away at the near post.
  • 61 min: Good burst from midfield from Delaney but his pass is poor. Arter then gives it away instantly with an aimless hoof towards Murphy.
  • 62 min: Two poor clearances from Duffy and then Clark leave Ireland under the cosh, and Eriksen earns a corner. Ireland clear as far as Larsen, who thumps a half volley off the top of Christie's head. He's a bit dazed, but is fine to carry on.
  • 64 min: First change of the game for Denmark, Yussuf Poulsen on for Cornelius.
  • 66 min: And one of Poulsen's first act is to clobber Arter in the air in midfield. Brady swings the ball into the box and it's flicked towards the back post - but it's just behind the run of Clark!  
  • 68 min: Little bit of sustained pressure from Ireland, with a long throw from Christie and a Brady shot from the edge which is blocked. Ward then winds up and send a long throw into the Danish box but Clark gives away a foul.
  • 69 min: Probing play form the Danes on the edge and Poulsen tries to bend one into the far corner but pulls it wide.
  • 71 min: Brady plays it up towards Murphy, but Kjaer marshalls him well and the ball skids through to Schmeichel. He's been on the periphery.
  • 72 min: An angled ball breaks for Ankersen in the box and his cross towards the back post is well intercepted by Christie.

    Another change for the Danes, Nicklas Bendtner on for Sisto.

  • 73 min: And the first change for Ireland, Shane Long on for Murphy.
  • 74 min: A good pass finds Bendtner on the right of the box but cross is poor and loops over Randolph's bar.
  • 75 min: Good run from O'Dowda, jinking past one down the inside right channel before he's forced off it.
  • 76 min: Bendtner harrying Arter and he catches him late after the Bournemouth midfielder clears upfield. Nasty but no intent. Irish free kick on halfway which Christie pumps up to the edge. There's a bit of pin ball before it ricochets out for an Ireland throw.
  • 78 min: Ireland are playing up the right end of the pitch, and after a couple of throws they win a corner kick.

    Brady to take from the left - after Clark and Kjaer get a talking to. Brady's outswinger is headed clear by Bendtner. Denmark break and Arter drags down Kvist - but somehow escapes a booking.

  • 81 min: Bjelland puts an arm into the back of Long's head and Ireland have a free kick. Brady takes and Clark stoops to flick it on, but it goes straight out for a goal kick.
  • 82 min: Danish pressure on the edge but Eriksen can't thread the ball through for Ankersen, McClean reading it well.  
  • 83 min: Ireland break through McClean, Brady and Long but the latter's poor touch sends the ball out for a soft throw.

    The clock is ticking.  

  • 84 min: Searching ball for Long down the right and he holds it up well. He shoots tamely with his left but then gets another chance and it deflects behind off a red shirt - but the referee awards a goal kick. Poor decision.
  • 85 min: Lovely from Eriksen, lofting it over Arter and carrying towards halfway. Good cover form Brady though, who reads it and bursts forward before lashing it miles over. Poor from Brady, who hadn't seen the run of Long - he would have been in.
  • 88 min: Glenn Whelan is on for Arter.
  • 89 min: O'Dowda breaks inside the Danish half and is fouled by Kvist. Close! Brady whips it towards the penalty spot and Duffy wins the header - but it loops into the grateful arms of Schmeichel.
  • 90 min: Randolph saves Ireland again. Poulsen meets a Danish cross from the left with a good header but the Irish 'keeper claws it over the bar. It was straight at him, but good reactions.
  • 91 min: Denmark go close again! The ball is cleared as far as Larsen, who tries one first time. Christie throws a wild foot at it and it deflects just wide for a Danish corner. Sustained pressure from the hosts until Randolph commands his box excellently to claim a cross from the right.
  • 93 min: Conor Hourihane on for Hendrick.
  • 94 min: The ball breaks to Larsen on the edge again and he takes a touch and eyes up the top right corner - but massively overcooks it.
  • Next Tuesday should be quiet, then.
  • Right, thanks for joining tonight!

    See you on Tuesday...