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World Cup play-offs: Christian Eriksen scores a hat-trick as Denmark crush Ireland

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Christian Eriksen Denmark Ireland World Cup play-off
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Christian Eriksen Denmark Ireland World Cup play-off
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Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen celebrates after scoring the third goal against Ireland 

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Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images
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Christian Eriksen Denmark Ireland World Cup play-off

Danes are too strong for Martin O’Neill’s side as they win 5-1 in Dublin

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 7:49am

Ireland 1 Denmark 5 (Denmark win 5-1 on aggregate)

A hat-trick from Christian Eriksen ended Ireland’s hopes of booking their place in the 2018 World Cup as they suffered a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Denmark.

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Looking to succeed where Northern Ireland had failed on Sunday by winning their play-off match for next summer’s tournament in Russia, Ireland were quietly confident going into the second leg having held the Danes to a goalless draw in last week’s first encounter.

That confidence increased when Shane Duffy headed Ireland into the lead after just six minutes after the Danes failed to deal with a free-kick. The Irish had the chance to extend their lead but Daryl Murphy and James McClean both squandered opportunities.

A disastrous three-minute spell in the first-half then saw the visitors score twice to silence the Dublin crowd. First Cyrus Christie put the ball into his own net on the half-hour mark and then Eriksen scored the first of his three goals with a glorious strike.

Denmark have qualified for the 2018 World Cup! %uD83C%uDDE9%uD83C%uDDF0 pic.twitter.com/wpJqlrErvP — B/R Football (@brfootball) November 14, 2017

The Tottenham midfielder got his second on 63 minutes and then completed his hat-trick ten minutes later as Ireland’s hopes of appearing in their first World Cup since 2002 were demolished by the Danes.

The humiliation was completed on the stroke of full-time when former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner stroked home a penalty after being brought down.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” declared Eriksen, who scored 11 goals overall this qualifying campaign. “It’s not often I score any hat-trick so of course it is incredible… we’ve been fighting for so long to get to the World Cup. We are very much looking forward to it.”

Denmark failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup so the success in Dublin was all the sweeter for coach Age Hareide.

“When we went 1-0 behind, we didn’t get stressed,” he said. “I’m very pleased for the team, this is a difficult place to play football - they’re compact and good defensively, so scoring five against Ireland does not happen very often.”

And then Denmark qualifies for #FifaWorldCup2018 5-1 winners in Dublin. Pure class. Congratulations %uD83C%uDDE9%uD83C%uDDF0 #IRLDAN — Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) November 14, 2017

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill had gambled at half-time by withdrawing the more defensive-minded David Meyler and Harry Arter, and replacing them with the attacking pair of Aiden McGeady and Wes Hoolahan. The gamble didn’t pay off, and O’Neill told reporters that he had no regrets.

“That’s the name of the game, we have to go for it,” he said. “There is no point in dying wondering. We had to get two goals back.”

Saying that Denmark “deserved” their victory, O’Neill added: “We were well beaten in the end. The two goals we conceded within a couple of minutes knocked us. We had to chase the game and Denmark took advantage.”

 

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