Denmark’s players — including Christian Eriksen — were all in agreement that class told in the end as Ireland’s World Cup ambitions came to a crashing halt in the most humiliating circumstances.
Ireland’s captain for the night David Meyler made much on the eve of the game about his team’s supposed superior desire and spirit but football matches were won mainly with feet rather than heads.
Danish boss Age Hareide left himself open to ridicule by predicting the match would be won without the necessity for penalty kicks and it appears the optimism was shared by his players.
“We showed we are clearly better than Ireland,” asserted midfielder William Kvist as they booked their second World Cup appearance in three attempts.
“Denmark played all the football and we smashed them in a lot of ways. Although I was nervous before the game, because it is a World Cup play-off, I knew there would be no problem creating chances against Ireland.
“We were disappointed not to score in front of our home fans on Saturday but we got more space today and made many more passes than Ireland.”
Hat-trick hero Eriksen was adamant the landslide could have been even more damaging for Ireland had the visitors been more clinical in front of goal.
“Once we equalised, I knew we would have lots more chances,” said the Spurs dynamo. “ “It was hard work out there, especially after conceding so early in the game, but there is a belief in this team which has got us to the World Cup.
“Scoring our second goal was a brilliant feeling because it puts us in the lead and in control. For myself, getting to play in the World Cup is a lifelong dream. I was there in 2010 but this is different.”
Nicklas Bendtner, who received a massive roar from the Denmark traveling fanbase when introduced six minutes from the end, admitted he was never fearful of Ireland.
The former Arsenal striker completed the rout in the final minute by burying a penalty into the top corner. Many inside Lansdowne Road felt Eriksen would be given the chance to bag his fourth but the playground principle of “makers-takers” still seems to apply in the professional ranks.
“When I was fouled for the penalty, immediately I got up to take it,” explained the Rosenborg man.
“There was no problem. Christian Eriksen was by far the best player on the pitch and played probably the best international of his career.
“With the players in our squad, I never doubted our ability to win this tie. Even when we fell behind early on, I was confident we would come back and seal our place at the World Cup in Russia.”
Irish reaction was hard to come by, only James McClean’s admission on the pitch after the final whistle that Denmark were the better team.
“This has been a long campaign and it feels like we’ve let people down,” he said.
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