A fine goal from Martin Braithwaite was enough to take Denmark into Euro 2020; though Ireland equalised through Matt Doherty, they could not find the winner they needed so try again in March’s play-offs.
Neither side managed very much at all in a remarkably dull first half, with Conor Hourihane having the only chance but rushing his finish when in front of goal.
Ireland stepped things up after half-time without really threatening, and then on 73 minutes Braithwaite leapt to poke home Henrik Dalsgaard's cross. This inspired Ireland, who began moving the ball with speed and conviction as Denmark sat back, and on 85 minutes, Matt Doherty powered home a fine header from Enda Stevens' cross.
In the remaining minutes Ireland threw everything at their opponents, but were stymied by the reality that their everything does not constitute very much at all, and a few scrambles was the best they could manage. Still, their defence remains strong, which gives them a chance whoever they play next, but their lack of firepower remains a major problem.
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McCarthy must pick Matt Doherty. Ireland have very few players of Premier League quality, and though Doherty only played because Seamus Coleman, was injured, he is probably a better player than the captain and in any event, room needs to be found for both of them. It is ludicrous to leave out perhaps the best player in the squad.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Matt Doherty (Ireland): His team's most dangerous outlet even before scoring a tremendous header, which came about because of a run and a cross he made.
Ireland: Randolph 6, Doherty 8, Duffy 6, Egan 6, Stevens 7, Browne 5, Hendrick 6, Whelan 6, Hourihane 6, McClean 5, McGoldrick 6. Subs: Clark 6, Robinson 6, Maguire 6.
Denmark: Schmeichel 6, Dalsgaard 7, Kjaer 6, Jorgense 6, Larsen 6, Schone 6, Braithwaite 7, Delaney 6, Eriksen 5, Poulsen 5, Cornelous 5. Subs: Hojbjerg 6, Dolberg 5, Christensen 6.
Ireland v Denmark
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34’ - AAARRRGGGHHH! Stevens slides a ball in from the right and Jorgensen misses with his slide, so Hourihane collects and his first touch is a good one, taking him into the box, and he opens his body to stroke a sidefooter into the corner ... only to panic and pass it straight to Schmeichel. That was as good a chance as Ireland could've hoped for, and a miserable attempt at converting it.
37’ - LOOPY SHOT! McGoldrick wins a knockdown and the ball bounces up for Browne! He wipes his foot across it, and sends a loopy shot not that far wide of the far post.
49’ - SAVE! Hourihane goes short and takes the return pass, and then bends in a fine cross which, though it eludes everyone, forces Schmeichel to pat down in a minor fluster.
73’ - GOAL! Ireland 0-1 Denmark (Braithwaite). This is a really good goal that gets better with every replay. Denmark win a throw on the left, deep inside the Ireland half, and Ireland let them knock it about until Dalsgaard bends a lovely ball into the box. But there's still everything to do, Braithwaite running from deep, away from Duffy, and leaping, leg extended, to deflect the ball inside the near post with his studs! that was coming, and Denmark are now back on top of the group!
85’ - GOAL! Ireland 1-1 Denmark (Doherty). Doherty crosses from the right and misses everyone, but Stevens collects from the other side and clips in a fine cross, which he meets on the run, powering a mahoosive header past Schmeichel!
- Matt Doherty’s equaliser was first goal Denmark conceded in 600 minutes, ending Kasper Schmeichel’s run of five consecutive clean sheets for his country.