Can the Republic of Ireland defeat Denmark In Their World Cup Playoff?


November 3, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ All,Football,World Cup 2018


It is do or die time for Martin O’Neill and the Republic of Ireland. A playoff was never going to be easy but neither was finishing above Serbia and Wales in the qualifying group stages – you could claim that Ireland are fortunate to be in the position that they are in.

Heading into their final group stage encounter away at Wales, Ireland knew that a win would be enough to climb above Chris Coleman’s side and James McClean’s second-half strike was enough to see the visitors book their place in the playoff round, much to the delight of the travelling Irish fans.

Daunting

But now, a daunting double header with Denmark awaits. After finishing behind Poland in Group C, the Danes will be quietly confident ahead of this huge clash. Age Hareide’s side picked up 20 points during the initial round of matches, one more than Ireland managed – although O’Neill would argue that their group was tougher.

For neutrals, this looks set to be one of the ties of the playoff round and choosing a winner could be tough. At the time of writing, Denmark are narrow favourites but it is difficult to split the two nations on paper and when you look at how Ireland overcame stronger opposition in their group, O’Neill’s men could be the nap for this tie..

Opener

The opening fixture in Copenhagen on November 9th will set the tone. More often than not, these two-legged ties are gritty, dull affairs – especially with so much at stake. O’Neill will take his squad out to Denmark to do a job; avoid defeat. This will give Ireland the greatest possible chance of featuring at the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer.

After a few years in the wilderness, Denmark have emerged as a dark horse when it comes to international football. The likes of Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel and Nicklas Bendtner, all of whom are currently playing or have played at Premier League level, should lead by example on the biggest stage of all.

The majority of Ireland’s squad now play in England’s top flight and that is testament to the work of O’Neill and the Irish Football Association. With a heavy Burnley influence, Ireland leave nothing on the field – everything is for the shirt and you know that they are going to give 110%. Work ethic is key to Ireland’s chances of victory here.

Balance

If Ireland can take Denmark back to the Aviva Stadium with the tie firmly in the balance, you would have to fancy O’Neill’s men to get the job done. Their home record in recent years is exceptional; Ireland have lost just once in their last 12 competitive games in Dublin.

Home advantage really can make a big difference in sport and that is particularly evident when it comes to international football. There is a buzz of expectation surrounding Ireland right now and O’Neill will be desperate to get his national team together for next month’s first leg.

Injuries have hindered Ireland in the past but the current crop are more than capable. As per, Seamus Coleman will be sorely missed but Ireland will still be full of confidence. Doing it for the Everton man would be a nice touch too.

Take your pick, Denmark or Ireland? Well, it is sure to be an exciting affair. On current form, you wouldn’t place too much faith in Kasper Schmeichel keeping Ireland out in that Danish goal and O’Neill will want to score at least once in the away leg.

Keeping the scoreline close is Ireland’s primary objective and the Aviva Stadium faithful could make all the difference in the second fixture.

 

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