Denying Eriksen a starring role the perfect script

Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Daryl Murphy, Stephen Ward and John O’Shea in good spirits during squad training at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen last night. Photo: Sportsfile

All Irish supporters will have one burning desire this evening – that something is gotten from the state of Denmark.

This week, the Danes spent a week in the famous castle where Hamlet met the ghost of his murdered father; the Irish plotted away in Abbotstown where, to the best of my limited knowledge at least, there have been no violent deaths.

The castle at Elsinore also contains a famous statue of Holger the Dane, a fearsome Viking warrior who sleeps in the cellar but will wake to save Denmark if and when the country is attacked.

Given the prospect of a cautious approach from the visitors, he may have time for another 40 winks; Ireland won’t be gung-ho – instead their aim will be to confront and contain and keep the tie alive so that they can hope to finish the job in Dublin.

The play’s the thing but in this case stopping the play is key for Ireland.

Denmark are a team who deserve respect, but not fear and a player, Christian Eriksen, who should prompt caution but not necessarily over-anxiety.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill during a training session at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen. Photo: Sportsfile

They are not an exceptional team although they have some good players and have benefited from a change in management and style. They lost twice in succession, in Poland and then at home to Montenegro, before finishing the group well, including a handsome 4-0 win at home to the dominant team in Group E, Poland.

qualified Historically, they were never really known for their football in international or domestic terms until Allan Simonsen burst on to the scene in 1977. And then we had the Danish Dynamite of the Laudrups, Soren Lerby, Frank Arnesen and Morten Olsen, the cool head at the back.

A small nation, like ourselves, they have qualified for a fair share of major tournaments since the 1980s but, unlike ourselves,…

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