And to think, we could have gone 2-0 up

The moments that mattered at the Aviva last night.

Grasping at straws (23 mins)

Shane Duffy’s opener after six minutes was long forgotten by the time Nicklas Bendtner stroked home a penalty for Denmark’s fifth goal, but it’s worth recalling — or is it? — that the Republic had a presentable chance to go 2-0 up in the 23rd minute.

In one of our few creative passages, Robbie Brady slid James McClean through on the inside left channel but from a tight angle — not conducive to a left-footer in fairness — his effort slipped wide of the far post with Schmeichel struggling.

Settling Cyrus (29 mins)

The Middlesbrough right-back was outstanding in Copenhagen, raiding courageously, but from the opening minutes last night, Christie was rash, jittery, and too wound up by far. 

Losing tackles he should win, rashly giving away possession, he could have done with a reassuring word in his ear from a colleague.

He was on the post but couldn’t sort his feet out as Christensen’s effort sneaked over the line. 

What he needed was half-time to settle down, but by that stage his full-back colleague Stephen Ward — who looked eqully unsure of himself — had been caught in possession paying a heavy price as Yussuf Poulsen streaked forward, setting up Eriksen to curl home a second.

Half-time

For a man not known for sacrificing hostages to fortune, even at the time it seemed an unusually bold step for Martin O’Neill to withdraw both his midfield ball winners, David Meyler and Harry Arter, at the interval. 

O’Neill goes for broke? It certainly seemed out of character. Was the situation so desperate after 45 mins? 

It left Ireland in a difficult predicament when the Danes made headway into Ireland’s final third in terms of retrieving the ball. It was all moot after 63 minutes anyway, as Eriksen had too much time and space on the edge of the box to curl home Denmark’s decisive third goal.


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