For the Republic of Ireland’s third match of their campaign to qualify for UEFA Euro 2020, Mike McCarthy’s side had a trip to Denmark, who they played twice in the inaugural UEFA Nations League and both ended in scoreless draws. However, Ireland still have a memory of the second leg annihilation that Denmark served to Martin O’Neill’s Ireland to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by winning the second leg 5-1 at Aviva Stadium. It was a masterclass by Christian Eriksen, but he didn’t exactly end the season with Tottenham in very good form.
Captained by Seamus Coleman, Mike McCarthy sent out the same starting XI that defeated Georgia 1-0 in March to face their toughest opposition yet.
The opening 45 minutes was scoreless and Denmark held the majority of the ball, as expected, with both teams having a good chance or two. Ireland’s very direct play didn’t really provide much of anything with long ball after long ball up for David McGoldrick to chase down.
After 20 minutes of relentless pressure and a handful of missed chances, Denmark finally found the breakthrough. Jens Stryger Larsen cut inside and played a beautiful ball for Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojberg to head past a helpless Darren Randolph.
Ireland had a surprising answer, as Shane Duffy headed in the free kick sent in by substitute Alan Judge to level things away from home. Denmark weren’t able to recover and Ireland was able to sneak out with a point.
Ireland now sit in first place with seven points after three matches. Switzerland, with one less game played, sit second and just a point behind Ireland.
Darren Randolph - 7
Came up with all the saves that were required, and one or two of those saves were truly excellent. Couldn’t have done anything about Denmark’s goal.
Seamus Coleman - 6
The Irish captain wasn’t at his best today, but did enough to get the result they wanted. Had a few lapses defensively that nearly costed them.
Enda Stevens - 7
Did really well at left back, tracked his man well. Had a couple of timely tackles and was always up for the challenge.
Shane Duffy - 8
Really led Ireland to such a good defensive performance. Did well with multiple last-ditch challenges and was a bit unlucky not to score in the first half. Scored the huge goal to equalise off of a set piece, where Ireland looked the most dangerous.
Richard Keogh - 7
The Derby County centre-half did well, couldn’t have done anything about the goal that was scored by Hojbjerg, who really should have been tracked by a midfielder.
Glenn Whelan - 6
The 35-year old midfielder did well in the centre of the park. Would have like him to do a better job of retaining possession.
David McGoldrick - 6
Difficult for him to get into the game considering his position and the style that Ireland play, but he kept his head up and continued to run his tail off. Disappointed with the amount of times he was offside. McGoldrick’s night ended after 88 minutes.
Robbie Brady - 5
Found it difficult to be involved for the 67 minutes of action that he saw. Completed just 53% of his passes.
James McClean - 6
Had a decent attempt at goal after a poor first touch, but the save was made by the keeper. Had another shot late on, but keeper saved again.
Jeff Hendrick - 6
The Burnley man did alright today, drew a couple fouls to buy Ireland some time and a break from defending. Disappointed in his lack of awareness at times.
Conor Hourihane - 6
Didn’t do well to keep possession, but had some vital clearances defensively. Hourihane’s night ended after 82 minutes.
Alan Judge - 7
The 67th minute substitute delivered the assist with a delightful ball to Duffy. Connected eight passes successfully with an 89% passing accuracy.
Scott Hogan - 6
The 82nd minute substitute executed five passes, but committed a foul.
Callum Robinson - 6
The 88th minute substitute wasn’t really able to make any sort of impact, but did connect one pass.