As far as Mick McCarthy is concerned, the good news is that Georgia held Denmark 0-0. And the bad news is that Georgia held Denmark 0-0.
In other words, the clear boost to Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualification hopes arising from this significant Group D setback for the Danes, he feels needs to be balanced against a fresh awareness of how challenging his own team’s visit to Tbilisi next month could be.
McCarthy and the Irish squad watched the game on TV at their Castleknock base and afterwards the manager said: “I was listening to the commentary and at the end of the match, they were making out that Denmark had fluffed their lines.
“I don’t agree. Georgia are a good team, they were playing at home and the result just highlights for me how hard it is to go away and win in this group. Georgia might even have won it when they put that free-kick straight at [Kasper] Schmeichel at the death and there were a few shouts around the room here when that happened.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted it was a draw but the onus is still on us to go out there now and pick up points in October.”
Switzerland beat Gibraltar 4-0 in last night’s other match in Group D.
First up for McCarthy and his 22-man squad is tomorrow night’s friendly against Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium.
“Everybody has come back from their day off after the Switzerland game and trained, with the exception of Richard Keogh who arrived later in the afternoon and did some work in the gym,” said the manager. “The players are really looking forward to the Bulgaria game now after the excitement of the draw with Switzerland and that incredible Aviva atmosphere.
“There will be some changes against Bulgaria and the players understand that. Those who have travelled with us for the five competitive games without playing know that some of them will get their chances to impress.
The atmosphere and the morale within the squad is top class and we will enjoy this fixture without the pressure of chasing three points in our bid to reach the finals.”
Elsewhere last night in Group F, Romania beat Malta 1-0 while Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer grabbed a brace each as Spain beat Faroe Islands 4-0. Sweden and Norway drew 1-1.
In Group J, Italy won 2-1 against Finland in Helsinki. Ciro Immobile gave Italy the lead but Norwich’s Teemu Puuki equalised from the spot. Chelsea’s Jorginho scored a 79th-minute penalty winner.
Greece and Liechtenstein drew 1-1, while Armenia beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 4-2.