Republic of Ireland are back in the FIFA World Cup qualification play offs, eight years after France controversially denied them a place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This time around, their opposition is Denmark who qualified for that tournament as group winners.

 

Team News

Martin O’Neil has to make do without Everton’s James McCarthy, who has withdrawn with a hamstring injury.

David Meyler is suspended for the first leg meaning that Aston Villa’s Glenn Whelan could start in Copenhagen.

Shane Long might start up front as a lone striker in change from usual formation.

Denmark have no injury news to report but Christian Eriksen could be their key player here.

 

Route to Play Offs

Republic of Ireland Qualification group Matchday Denmark
Serbia (a), D 2-2 1 Armenia (h), W 1-0
Georgia (h), W 1-0 2 Poland (a), L 3-2
Moldova (a), W 1-3 3 Montenegro (h), L 0-1
Austria (a), W 0-1 4 Kazakhstan (h), W 4-1 
Wales (h), D 0-0 5 Romania (a), D 0-0
Austria (h), D 1-1 6 Kazakhstan (a), W 1-3
Georgia (a), D 1-1 7 Poland (h), W 4-0
Serbia (h), L 0-1 8 Armenia (a), W 1-4
Moldova (h), W 2-0 9 Montenegro (a), W 0-1
Wales (a), W 0-1 10 Romania (h), D 1-1
James McClean (4) Top Scorer Christian Eriksen (8)
12 Goals scored 20
6 Goals conceded 8

Both teams had tough routes to get here but the stats suggest that this could be a tight battle.

O’Neil’s men were unbeaten on the road throughout qualifying whilst the Danish lost one of their away games.

Both teams have lost a home game making this even more difficult to predict.

What ultimately might be the deciding factor in this first leg is the fact that Denmark are more clinical in front of goal.

 

Christian Eriksen

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen

 

They have netted 20 times to the Irish’s 12 with Eriksen getting twice as many goals as the Republic’s top scorer – McClean.

 

Discipline will be key

Discipline could also be a key factor because the visitors have ten players just one booking away from missing the second leg. 

They are as follow;  Darren Randolph, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, Stephen Ward, Glenn Whelan, Harry Arter, Aiden McGeady, McClean and Daryl Murphy. 

The decision to possibly start Long up front alone looks like the right decision. This means that Murphy can be rested for Tuesday or brought on as a very late sub. 

The rest are all key starters so they need to avoid any silly fouls or fights, if want to play on Tuesday night. 

Denmark had nine players receive one yellow card during their qualifying group, including Eriksen and Viktor Fischer. 

They all could be vulnerable to not featuring in Tuesday’s return leg at the Aviva Stadium. 

Either way in a match when so much can be won or lost, both teams need to keep their heads. 

 

Prediction

For me, ROI needs to maintain their strong defence and perhaps play on counter if want a result here. 

If they do that, stay disciplined and manage to frustrate Eriksen, they should easily grab a draw here. 

Prediction: Denmark 0-0 Republic of Ireland

Result: Denmark 0-0 Republic of Ireland

 

 

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