By Liam Mackey at the Aviva
Martin O’Neill has described the 0-0 draw with Denmark as a “building block” as Ireland now prepare for the visit to Dublin on Tuesday of a Welsh team which put his side to the sword in Cardiff last month.
“We’ve kept a clean sheet tonight, which is a start, but after the Welsh defeat it’s a rebuilding process,” he said.
“I thought that in the periods when we had little pockets of possession there was a feeling we could do something with it. I thought their substitution at the end with Christensen, a top quality defender, coming on for a centre-forward, might have told you something.
“But our intention was to try to get more possession of the ball and eventually create more than we did do. I thought we started reasonably well but then allowed Denmark to dictate the game possession-wise.
"And while they didn’t really cause us that many problems they still did have possession of the ball and when you’re chasing it, you tend to get tired.
“I thought the second half, the early part of it definitely belonged to them but as we started to get into it, when we had possession and kept it for a little while, then the players grew in confidence. And I thought we were going strongly again at the end.”
Referring to a controversial moment early in the game, O’Neill insisted that Jeff Hendrick had no idea his teammate Harry Arter was down injured when he played on and tried to score, after a Danish player, in sportingly halting the match, had coughed up possession to the Dubliner.
“He was totally unaware,” said O’Neill. “He thought it was just a sloppy pass by their player. It would have been an interesting thing had he scored the goal.
Denmark manager Age Hareide said: “I told the fourth official the referee has to see that our players wanted to show fair play because an Irish player went down.
"The referee should have whistled and dropped the ball. The responsibility lay on the referee in this situation.”
Expressing satisfaction with his team’s performance, the Danish manager said: “We know Ireland is hard to break down and after winning at home we were satisfied with a draw in Dublin.
"We will leave it for Wales and Ireland to battle now and see who will win that one. I think it will be a tight game between Wales and Ireland. I wouldn't be surprised if they drew.”