Republic of Ireland 1-5 Denmark: Eriksen hat-trick sends Danes to Russia as Irish are battered

A hat-trick from Christian Eriksen proved to be the highlight as Denmark eased their way to next summer's World Cup with a 5-1 win over the Republic of Ireland.

Republic of Ireland 1-5 Denmark: Eriksen hat-trick sends Danes to Russia as Irish are battered
Above: Christian Eriksen celebrating one of his three goals in the 5-1 win over Ireland | Photo: Getty Images/Stephen McCarthy-Sportsfile
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
1 5
DENMARK
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: RANDOLPH, CHRISTIE, DUFFY, CLARK (LONG, MIN. 70), WARD, HENDRICK, MEYLER (MCGEADY, MIN. 45), ARTER (HOOLAHAN, MIN. 45), BRADY, MCCLEAN, MURPHY
DENMARK : SCHMEICHEL, KJAER, CHRISTENSEN, BJELLAND, SISTO, DELANEY, KVIST, LARSEN (ANKERSEN, MIN. 54), ERIKSEN, POULSEN (CORNELIUS, MIN. 60, JORGENSEN (BENDTNER, MIN. 83)
SCORE: 1-0, MIN. 6, DUFFY 1-1, MIN. 29, CHRSITIE (OG) 1-2, MIN. 32, ERIKSEN 1-3, MIN. 63, ERIKSEN 1-4, MIN. 73, ERIKSEN 1-5, MIN. 90, BENDTNER (PEN)

The hope of a return to the World Cup after a 16-year absence ended in heartbreak for the Republic of Ireland, a hat-trick from Christian Eriksen was the highlight as Denmark breezed past them 5-1 on the night. 

It was an excellent start for the Irish as Shane Duffy opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but after some end-to-end entertainment the Danes took over with Eriksen turning the play-off on it's head with his first strike following from Cyrus Christie's own goal. 

The second period had a similar beat to it as Eriksen added his second and third in the 62nd and 73rd minute to all but secure their plane to Russia next summer, which was sealed right at the death with a penalty from the elusive Nicklas Bendtner. 

 

Lift-off at the Aviva 

The clash at the Aviva Stadium was a very special chance for the Irish  as it presented the best opportunity for Martin O'Neill's side to reach their first World Cup in 16 years, the stage was set following the 0-0 draw in Copenhagen and the national stadium was rocking and they couldn't have asked for a better start as Ireland took an early lead. 

The long free-kick down the middle from Robbie Brady ​was flicked on by the defending Mathias Jørgensen, it looped into the path of Duffy who was waiting to nudge it beyond Kasper Schmeichel who failed to react and sent the Irish contingent into a frenzy. 

 

End-to-end stuff 

That early goal from O'Neill's lit the match for what would be an entertaining spetacle for the remainder of the first period, with both chances producing excellent chances. 

Denmark wanted to quickly get themselves back into the clash but Darren Randolph once again was proving a menace to the Danes, Andreas Christensen was allowed too much space on the edge of the area before he laid it off to William Kvist. His effort made it through a swarm of players, but Randolph did well to push it behind. 

He was called up again almost instantly as the ball came over to Pione Sisto who was in acres of space on the left, he had all the time in the world but decided to go for the near post which Randolph handled well. 

​With pressure beginning to increase on the Irish defence they looked to put some space between themselves and Åge Hareide's side, and were handed two great opportunities to do that. 

Chrisite did well to play on as he started his run down the right, his dangerous low ball into the mixer found Murphy but his flick agonisingly rippled the side-netting. 

James McClean looked to be the hero moments later as he looked to beat the offside trap to get on Brady's flick, he was baring down on Schmeichel's goal but his effort across goal was wide of the left-hand post. 

 

Turning the tie on its head 

Despite their flurry of chances Denmark continued to turn the screw, and rewarded when they turned the tie on it's head with two goals in three minutes. 

It was poor from Ireland in the 29th as they fell asleep at the short corner as Sisto brilliantly beat Harry Arter and put the ball in the mixer from the byline, it was flicked on by Christensen which came back off the post but was deflected home by Christie. 

​Four minutes later the visitors found themselves ahead, again it was poor as Stephen Ward was quickly dispossessed and Denmark broke down the field, the ball ended up at the feet of Nicolai Jørgensen who teed it up for Eriksen's whose effort rattled the underside of the crossbar. 

 

Putting the distance between the sides 

Ireland needed two goals as they came out for the second period but lacked little to no reply in such a high pressure situation, but Denmark kept their cool and put light between the sides. 

It was a patient build-up from Hareide's side which stepped up a gear as Sisto teed it off to Eriksen, the Tottenham man did well to take the touch before he curled it into the far corner. 

 

On the plane to Russia 

Denmark's passage into next summer's tournament looked all but secured as the minutes began to tick away, Eriksen had proved devastating to the Irish and the night belonged to him as he completed his hat-trick. 

It was also another poor piece of defending from the Irish as a ball in from the left was poorly cleared from Stephen Ward, it rolled straight into the path of the onrushing Eriksen who was alive to the situation as he latched onto the loose ball which he fired into the top corner. 

The 88th minute rounded off the tie with Denmark's fifth and final goal as Bendtner was brought down under the challenge of McClean, the former Arsenal striker stepped up to take the spot kick and he was clinical as he fired into the top corner which completed the romp on the Emerald Isle.