Four decades of Danish pain continues

Four decades of Danish pain continues
Conor Hourihane reacts after a missed chance. Photo: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The Republic of Ireland’s 40-year run of misery against Denmark has continued as Ireland were left to retreat to the back-up of a Euro 2020 play-off.

Ireland have now failed to beat the Danes in their last 10 competitive matches (seven draws, three losses), including two games which ended the tenures of Eoin Hand and Martin O’Neill.

Mick McCarthy will get at least two more games at the helm but he has failed to break the hex which O’Neill suffered so badly against.

Denmark’s three-year, 34-game unbeaten run (excluding a World Cup penalty shoot-out loss, and a 3-0 defeat to Slovakia when fielding a team of amateurs and futsal players due to a conflict between the players and the Danish FA) includes six games against Ireland.

McCarthy’s two games against the Danes ended in two 1-1 draws, both after late equalisers.

O’Neill’s four games against Age Hareide’s men ended in three scoreless draws and one 5-1 defeat in the 2018 World Cup play-off. While that latter defeat wasn’t fatal for the manager, the lack of improvement in the Nations League campaign, culminating in another 0-0 with the Danes, cost him the chance to lead Ireland into these Euro qualifiers.

The last time Ireland actually beat Denmark in a competitive game was all the way back in 1979, when Gerry Daly and Don Givens were the scorers in a 2-0 World Cup qualifier win.

Eoin Hand suffered 3-0 and 4-1 losses to Denmark in 1984 and 1985.

Jack Charlton perhaps fared best of the lot. Although failing to win, his side managed to draw twice (0-0 and 1-1) against the then European champions in 1992 and 1993 to qualify ahead of them for the 1994 World Cup.

Ireland’s only goalscorers in the 10-game winless streak have been Frank Stapleton, Niall Quinn, and Shane Duffy (twice), and Matt Doherty.

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