Nations League: Republic of Ireland v Denmark

A chance for revenge as Danes return to Dublin without Christian Eriksen

Patrick Madden Sat, Oct 13
LIVE: Nations League: Republic of Ireland v Denmark

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  • Good evening!

    Welcome to our coverage of Ireland's Nations League clash with Denmark at the Aviva Stadium (7.45pm kick-off).

    The Danes are back in Dublin, bringing with them painful memories of that 5-1 thrashing in the World Cup play-offs.

    It feels like a lifetime ago now - when we naively thought a summer in Russia beckoned - but less than a year has passed since that sobering November evening. Indeed, this is just Ireland's second competitive fixture since, following on from September's 4-1 defeat away to Wales.

    Simply put, a result and a performance are sorely needed tonight.

    However, there are reasons to be cheerful!

    Tonight O'Neill gives a full international debut to Matt Doherty, who has taken to Premier League football like a duck to water with Wolves this season.

    And Ireland's cause has been helped significantly by the absence of Christian Eriksen. Age Hareide's side are not nearly as intimidating without their beating heart pulling the strings.

    It's been a thoroughly miserable day in Dublin - three points for Ireland tonight would certainly warm the cockles.

    Come on!!!


    Ireland: Randolph; Duffy, Keogh, K. Long; Christie, Hendrick, Arter, O'Dowda, Doherty; McClean, S. Long.

    Denmark: Schmeichel; Dalsgaard, Kjaer, Jorgensen, Larsen; Braithwate, Schone, Delaney, Sisto; Dolberg, Poulsen.

  • O'Neill has gone for a 5-3-2/3-5-2 tonight, with Cyrus Christie on the right and debutant Doherty on the left. Doherty was named the PFA fans' player of the month for September, and has been a driving force behind Wolves' brilliant start to the Premier League season. Given the paucity of options at his disposal, O'Neill couldn't snub him for much longer.

    There's also a retun for Harry Arter, with the last international break dominated by his spat with Roy Keane. Again, a lack of midfield options has made his return a necessity. James McClean and Shane Long will lead the line, and should offer some sorely needed pace.

  • The Nations League is well into its second round of fixtures, but it remains a bit of a head scratcher. You can read all you need to know about the competition HERE.  
  • As for the Danes, Eriksen is conspicuous by his absence - an abdominal injury rules the Tottenham forward out.

    Aside from that, Hareide has been able to play a full hand tonight. Ajax wonder kid Kasper Dolberg leads the line while Thomas Delaney - now with Borussia Dortmund - starts in midfield.

  • Martin O'Neill speaking before the game says Ireland are looking 'to play on the front foot' tonight. He's also confirmed Doherty will play on the right, not the left.
  • The teams are in the tunnel at the Aviva!
  • Time for the anthems. The Aviva slowly filling up with sodden souls.
  • The two sets of players are posing for a quick picture in the name of equality and then we're good to go.
  • Tonight's ref is Spain's Javier Estrada.

    Ireland to kick-off.


  • 1 min: Bright opening from Ireland. McClean turns sharply on the left and works the ball infield. He gets it back and his deep cross comes to Doherty for his first touch at the back post. His low cross is turned away on the penalty spot.
  • 2 min: Then there's a rusty touch from McClean on the left flank and he brings down Poulsen as he tries to recover. Schone's ball into the box is headed clear.
  • 3 min: The first of Shane Long's thankless runs down the channels - he is dumped over by Larsen as he chased a long punt, but was never getting near the ball.
  • 5 min: Ireland aren't set up as envisaged here. McClean looks to be playing in the leftwing back role with Christie in the middle.

    What a chance! Arter goes down injured, Delaney looks to play the ball out but gets pick-pocketed by Hendrick. Hendrick is through on goal but puts the ball wide. The Danes are furious - the Ireland midfielder looks a bit non-plussed. Would have been interesting if that had gone in.

  • 7 min: Arter involved again - he catches Braithwaite with a nasty late challenge on halfway and he's booked. Stupid.
  • 8 min: This is a weird set up from Ireland and O'Neill. Christie playing as a spoiler with Hendrick supporting Shane Long. Not sure how that fits in with O'Neill's promise that Ireland would be looking to play "on the front foot."
  • 11 min: Shane Long holds up a Doherty throw-in on the right and draws a foul from Delaney. O'Dowda whips in a dangerous ball which is just beyond Keogh and Kjaer turns it behind for a corner.
  • 12 min: Ireland work the corner short before O'Dowda's low cross is easily turned away.
  • 15 min: O'Dowda is caught inside the Danish half and Ireland send bodies up for the free-kick - which is then taken short to McClean. Eventually it's pumped into the box and ricochets behind off Keogh.
  • 17 min: Kevin Long tracks back brilliantly to dispossess Poulsen and Ireland break up the right. McClean is released but his cross is turned out for a throw. O'Dowda works it to McClean again who lofts it towards the back post - there's a bit of head tennis before the Danes clear.
  • 19 min: Ireland's back three are staying very narrow here, and with three runners in front of them there's not much space for the Danes. That said, Ireland are struggling to retain the ball when they win it back.
  • 21 min: Dalsgaard crosses towards the near post and Dolberg flicks a header over Randolph's goal. A half chance at best.
  • 22 min: Denmark are on the ball but going nowhere, so Braithwaite pulls the trigger from distance. His low effort takes a deflection and nearly loops into the path of Delaney - Randolph is out bravely to smother, and gets a boot in the ribs for his troubles.
  • 23 min: O'Dowda got tangled up in that as well and he looks a bit dazed. He's off for a bit of treatment - Randolph is fine to play on.
  • 24 min: O'Dowda is back on. Denmark enjoying the lion's share of possession, Ireland happily dropping into a flat back five and sitting.  
  • 26 min: Shane Long is looking sharp but, as ever, he's completely isolated. He must have one of the most unenviable roles in world football.
  • 28 min: Good tackle from Christie on Braithwate on the edge of the Irish box - but then a not so good challenge on Delaney on the left. It's crossed to the back post and straight out for a goal kick.
  • 30 min: A neat turn from Shane Long on halfway - he's fouled but gets back to his feet, only to ignore the good run of Doherty on the right and turn aimlessly back inside.
  • 31 min: Poulsen picks up the ball between the lines and runs at the Irish box, shimmying onto his left before Doherty covers across excellently. Danish corner and it's played short - Dolberg can only then get a toe on it at the back post.  
  • 34 min: Long throw from Christie into the Irish box, Denmark clear after a bit of head tennis. This is all predictably flat.
  • 36 min: McClean gets caught out by a bouncing ball in the left corner - Kevin Long sweeps up the danger. McClean's defensive naivety showing there.
  • 38 min: Randolph with a long ball which Shane Long battles to hold up, drawing a foul/bear hug from Kjaer. Ireland free-kick.

    It's to the left of the D, about 40 yards out. Great ball form Hendrick - Duffy climbs well but heads wide of the far post! It was far from straightforward, but the best chance of the half so far.

  • 41 min: An Ireland move breaks down on the right - Denmark have the chance to break properly for the first time with the two banks of green slightly out of shape. Sisto carries and crosses towards the far post - well read by Kevin Long.
  • 42 min: Shane Long hold the ball up brilliantly again just inside the Denmark half. Ireland try to work it down the right and Doherty's cross is cleared. Moments later O'Dowda is upended after a jinking run through the middle - he wants a free-kick but the ref says play on.
  • 44 min: Ireland nearly get caught out. Dalsgaard sends a brilliant ball to the back post which is just too big for Kjaer but has Doherty in all sorts of trouble. He just manages to smuggle it behind for a Danish corner with Jorgensen looking to pounce.
  • 45 min: Denmark hit the post! Sisto has the ball in the inside left channel, neither Christie or Doherty properly close him down and he shifts onto his right, whipping a good effort towards the far corner which skims off the outside of the woodwork. Denmark finishing the half well.
  • The teams are out for the second half - Enda Stevens on for Callum O'Dowda. That should provide a bit more balace to the side.

    We're back underway.

  • 47 min: Denmark pressing early on. Nice flick from Braithwatte to Poulsen in the box. He lays it off for Dalsgaard but McClean covers across well and forces a goal kick.
  • 48 min: The Danes have picked up where they left off since the break, dominating possession. Hendrick catches Delaney late - looks like the Burnley midfielder is staying up with Shane Long, rather than McClean pushing up.
  • 51 min: Ireland are far too happy to let Denmark have possession here, the visitors have rakes of time on the ball.
  • 53 min: Flat as a pancake at the Aviva.
  • 54 min: Schone clips it into the box towards Delaney and he flicks it to Dolberg but the ball won't drop. This is an exercise in Denmark keeping the ball up to the final third.
  • 55 min: Neat play from the Danes, Schone releasing Larsen down the left. His low cross is turned away but only as far as Sisto. He moves it onto his right again but can't get enough curl on his shot towards the top right corner.
  • 56 min: More decent hold up play from Shane Long down the inside right channel and he draws a foul from Delaney. Ireland pack the box only for Hendrick to try and slide in Christie down the right. Not only is the pass poor, but Christie was offside. . .
  • 58 min: Denmark with a corner from the right. It's whipped in and Kjaer bullies Stevens, flicking a header towards the far corner which is turned off the line by Arter on the post. Pivotal intervention.
  • 61 min: Ireland's first real action in the Danish final third. It's knocked down to Christie on the edge who looks to have run into a blind alley on the right but manages to clip a decent-ish cross towards the back post, where Denmark clear.
  • 63 min: A rare spell of Irish possession, with the back threee knocking the ball around, but there's absolutely no link with the midfield.
  • 64 min: Christie gets done by Delaney and has a nibble, bringing him down in a dangerous position. Schone lines one up Ronaldo style and nearly clears the stand.

  • 65 min: Callum Robinson is on for Arter - he'll support Shane Long with Hendrick dropping off. At least that's what you'd expect to happen. He could be coming on to play centre-half for all we know.
  • 69 min: Sisto has been dropping off and playing the Eriksen role tonight - he has the same menacing pace if not quite the craft. No sign of Ireland reverting away from this flat back five. Hendrick gets dragged out of position leaving a bit of space for Braithwaite - his skewed effort is well wide.
  • 71 min: Ireland's first chance of the half. Shane Long flicks the ball on well for Robinson who switches it wide for Stevens. His low cross it to Shane Long again, he lays it off for Christie who stings Schmeichel's gloves with a rasping effort.
  • 72 min: Ireland keep the pressure on, neat play from Robinson on the left and his cross is a good one but drifts between runners and out for a throw. Much, much better.
  • 74 min: Robinson then performs his defensive duties with aplomb, reading it well and nearly finding Shane Long with a searching ball down the right channel. This is turning into a handy cameo from the Preston forward.
  • 76 min: Poor ball from Hendrick to McClean on the left but the latter makes the most of it, hooking it down the line where Shane Long forces an Irish throw. Ireland playing more of the game in the right half.
  • 78 min: Good tackle from Stevens and he releases McClean, who has few options ahead of him but draws a foul on halfway. Dolberg is being replaced by Chelsea's Andreas Christensen - defensive switch.
  • 80 min: Robinson does well again, putting the pressure on Larsen and winning the ball back before fizzing it back from the byline. Denmark looking leggy here.
  • 81 min: Irish corner on the right - McClean can't beat the first man. Ireland keep the ball in the Danish final third however, and get a few balls into the box during a scrappy period. Eventually, it's cleared. Robinson has made a huge difference.
  • 83 min: Poulsen gets in behind Stevens at the back post and his first time effort is well blocked by Kevin Long. Stevens is awarded a dubious free-kick. Aidan O'Brien is on for Shane Long.
  • 84 min: Maybe that's why Ireland are so reluctant to play out from the back. Duffy sells Christie short and Delaney picks it off, playing it to Sisto. He moves it to Braithwaite who cuts inside and Randolph is down sharply to get behind his low effort. Duffy is quick to apologise - got away with one there.
  • 86 min: Denmark probing with Ireland very deep. Delaney takes a touch out of his feet and has a go, his deflected effort is comfortable for Randolph.
  • 88 min: Hendrick fouls Delaney inside the Irish half and Denmark sends white shirts forward. Schone laces it to Kjaer at the back post who heads it back across goal - Randolph claims with confidence.
  • 90 min: McClean clatters Braithwaite late and gets a booking.
  • There will be two minutes added time.
  • 92 min: Neat play from McClean on the left and he draws a foul from Schone. Hendrick swings in the free-kick and it's flicked on by a green shirt - but behind everyone.
  • 93 min: Ireland play on and Christie engineers space and crosses towards the penalty spot. Duffy is challenging with Dalsgaard - he wants a penalty but gets a booking for his swan dive.
  • Thanks for joining tonight. It wasn't the prettiest, but a point gives Ireland's Nations League campaign a kick start.