Darren Randolph was the only player to enhance his reputation on the night.

Republic of Ireland player ratings v Denmark (November 14 2017)
Published: November 14, 2017

Dave Donnelly reports from the Aviva Stadium

 

A good night for Ireland quickly became a very bad night for Ireland at the Aviva Stadium as the home support were stunned by a five-star performance by Denmark in their World Cup 2018 play-off.

 

Having drawn 0-0 in Copenhagen on Saturday, Ireland were confident and took an early lead through Shane Duffy, but it all unravelled in two first-half minutes as Cyrus Christie put through his own net before Christian Eriksen scored the first of his hat-trick of goals. Nicklas Bendtner netted a last-minute penalty to rub salt in Irish wounds.

 

Republic of Ireland player ratings:

 

Darren Randolph: 7

 

A rought night for the Bray goalkeeper who didn't have a chance with any of Denmark's four goals, particularly the three thunderbolts from Eriksen. Made vital saves at 0-0 and 1-0 to keep the show going for a while but was let down by those in front of him.

 

Cyrus Christie: 2

 

The Middlesbrough full back has had more bad days than good days in a green shirt and this was mostly definitely one of them. As always, Christie showed good attributes in attack, such as winning the ball and crossing for Murphy to almost make it 2-0, but his flank was ruthlessly exploited and his own goal summed up his day.

 

Shane Duffy: 4

 

What started as a great day for the Derry man – with an opportunistic early goal giving his side the lead – soon turned sour. Communication with his fellow defenders was poor, as evidenced when he left a short pass for Eriksen to rack up another strike on goal, and his passing woeful.

 

Ciaran Clark: 3

 

Unlike his defensive partner, the Newcastle United defender had little impact on the game in a positive sense and was part of a unit that was routinely stretched by the Danish front four. Replaced after 70 minutes as Ireland went all-out attack.

 

Stephen Ward: 1

 

Ward has never fully won the trust of the Irish fans despite being arguably the most impressive performer of the past few years but he had a shocker on Tuesday night. His poor touches were directly responsible for two of Eriksen's goals, including the second goal that swung the tie decisively.

 

David Meyler: 6

 

The Hull City man was brought back into the team after missing the first leg through suspension and added real energy and impetus in the early stages as Ireland took the game to Denmark. Was surprisingly taken off at half time and the Ireland midfield was marked notably absent without him.

 

Harry Arter: 5

 

A good start for the Bournemouth midfielder saw him harry and harass his opposite numbers in the Denmark midfield, however he was badly exposed for the Danes' opening goal, nutmegged when the ball was played short to Sisto.

 

Jeff Hendrick: 4

 

The only midfielder left standing after the half time cull, Hendrick started the game pressing aggressively up the field but was shifted back to a holding role at half time. The latter hardly suits him, and without any help from McGeady and Hoolahan in front of him the Danes created numerous chances between the lines.

 

Robbie Brady: 3

 

A poor outing for the hero of Lille, whose set-piece deliveries were generally wasteful and he again looked uncomfortable in the narrow diamond formation that does little to highlight his attributes.

 

James McClean: 3

 

A confident opening period saw the campaign's top scorer lead the Irish pressing and provide a link to the sometimes isolated Murphy up front. Missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 shortly before it all went to pot. Seemed unsure of his role after the break and was frequently dragged out of position, creating easy space for Denmark. Gave away a harsh late penalty.

 

Daryl Murphy: 5

 

Performed a thankless role to the best of his ability as he charged with winning headers against Denmark's statuesque centre halves. Won few headers and offered no running threat in behind, which meant Denmark could pass it around the back casually, but showed what he is good at when he very nearly netted a second.

 

Substitutes:

 

Wes Hoolohan: 5

 

This will surely be the Norwich City man's last game in a green shirt and it's a cruel way for him to bow out. Sent out to give Ireland a creative spark in the second half but spent much of his time chasing after lost causes, and Brady's monopoly on set pieces gave him little chance to create.

 

Aiden McGeady: 3

 

The winger was initially a central part of O'Neill's side but has slid quickly to becoming 'break glass in case of emergency' option. Never got up to the speed of the game, didn't seem certain of where he was to play and when he did have chances to create he lost the ball or put in a weak cross.

 

Shane Long: 5

 

The last time the Tipperary man was sprung from the bench in a must-win game at the Aviva, he hammered the ball past Manuel Neuer as Ireland beat the world champions. That seems an awful long time ago, and the striker's lack of confidence was summed up when he went one-on-one with Schmeichel and looped the ball onto the roof of the net.


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