Danes anticipate more expansive Ireland

John Fallon Denmark’s Henrik Dalsgaard is expecting Mick McCarthy to enrich Copenhagen with an entertaining Ireland side for their crunch Euro meeting in June.

Danes anticipate more expansive Ireland

Denmark’s Henrik Dalsgaard is expecting Mick McCarthy to enrich Copenhagen with an entertaining Ireland side for their crunch Euro meeting in June.

The Brentford defender bristles when recalling what he brands the negative tactics of Martin O’Neill during the four matches between the nations in 14 months.

Three goalless draws, sandwiched in between by the Christian Eriksen-inspired demolition in Dublin, made up the quartet of fixtures.

Under Mick McCarthy, however, Dalsgaard anticipates a whole new ball game.

The pair pitted their wits against each other from the Championship scene and he considers them chalk and cheese.

Dalsgaard chuckles in agreement with Thomas Delaney’s description of O’Neill’s tactics as ‘primitive’. The midfielder likened the blanket defence to a tin of beans requiring an opening without the correct utensil.

“Ireland could not get any more defensive than they were under O’Neill,” groaned the defender whose first international goal nicked a point for the Danes in Tuesday’s 3-3 draw in Switzerland.

“I believe Mick McCarthy will allow his team attack more. His teams at Ipswich were always solid yet I think he’ll bring another expression to the game. It will be completely different to the previous matches but still a huge game.”

Dalsgaard’s last-gasp equaliser preserves an incredible record now stretching to 26 games unbeaten in open play. Only Croatia have conquered them since October 2016 and that was on penalties during their march to the World Cup final. The friendly defeat to Slovakia last autumn is justifiably discounted, as Christian Eriksen and colleagues were on strike.

The type of determination associated with such a run was evident at Saint Jakob Park after they’d fallen three goals behind. Six minutes were on the clock when Mathias Jorgensen pulled once back followed by a second from substitute Christian Gytkjaer.

Although the veteran Dalsgaard powered in the equaliser, he felt the situation should have been avoided. More ominously for Ireland, he’s insistent the concessions won’t be repeated.

“We didn’t panic,” emphasised the 29-year-old. “There were plenty of words exchanged between the players at half-time and it took us a while to get going.

“Our dressing room is full of winners and we didn’t want to lose our record. Overall, it wasn’t the performance we wanted against Switzerland.

“That won’t be the case against Ireland. I know we will be ready from the start.”

Hareide concurred, pointing to their steady rise in recent years. While they looked dead and buried midway through the second half, the wily Norwegian classified the concession of three goals down as an usual blip.

“Denmark are on a wave,” he declared.

“Our team selection is very consistent and that can be seen by our record. We only had one different starter against Switzerland to the team which lost on penalties to Croatia in the last-16 of the World Cup last summer.

“This team does not know when they are beaten and that will help us during another campaign.”

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