REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The Republic of Ireland will face familiar foes in Denmark on Monday evening looking to secure automatic qualification the 2020 European Championships (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
The Boys in Green eased past New Zealand on Thursday evening, but they will be acutely aware that the threat posed by Denmark is far superior to that of the All Whites.
Familiarity often breeds contempt – but not for manager Mick McCarthy who has only faced the Danes once before in his second stint as boss.
“I haven’t been involved in these five games against Denmark,” said McCarthy at his pre-match press conference on Sunday morning.
“I just want to win the game. It doesn’t matter if it is Denmark or anyone else.
“Can I tell you how I am feeling today? The knot is there to today. It will be with the players. There should always be an edge there.”
The backstop for McCarthy’s men is of course the fall back of the March playoffs, ‘earned’ through the UEFA Nations League.
“I’m not talking about it and I’m not thinking about it,” said McCarthy in relation to the back door arrangement into the tournament that Ireland will part host. “I’d prefer to get it done tomorrow.”
“To think because we beat New Zealand on Thursday night and scored three goals, that we can go gung-ho and beat the Danes, that is just not in my thinking.
“The crowd are hoping we play well, that we give them a performance and that we win. I have no doubt they will turn up and support us like they always do.
“They will support us more if we play well and win. They will enjoy that more. It is what we want to produce for them.”
Seamus Coleman is ruled out with suspension, while both Derrick Williams and Aaron Connolly will miss out with injury.
Denmark will be looking to replicate their heroics of 2017 when they make the trip to the Aviva Stadium on Monday evening.
Age Hareide’s Danes know that should they avoid defeat on Monday night; they will guarantee their place at the European Championship’s.
This will be the sixth time the Boys in Green have faced Denmark since November 2017 – and despite noises from the Danish camp suggesting they don’t want to face Mick McCarthy’s side – Hareide insists that it is a sign of respect.
“Our players have respect for Ireland, I have said it myself: the team looks good, they are well organised, they are hard to beat,” Hareide said during his pre-match press conference.
“You know they have a big heart. I played against them myself in the 80s and there were a lot of great players in that team.
“I played with them in my career at Manchester City and Norwich and they were really good team-mates. They were always there in the matches and they always gave 100 per cent.
“All our players say they don't like to play Ireland, and that means respect when players say that because if you said you love to play Ireland, there would be a difference.”
Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel added;
“It's a massive game, qualification for a massive tournament. For me personally, it would only be my second major tournament, so it's a huge game and a game that we're going to win."
The Scandinavians have no injury or suspension worries to contend with ahead of Monday evenings crunch showdown.
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany).
Denmark have not conceded a senior international goal in 515 minutes, with Georgia being the last side to score against the Danes.
The Republic of Ireland have not defeated Denmark in a competitive game since 1979. The Boys in Green last home win over the Danes came in 2002 – a 3-0 friendly win.
Three of the Republic of Ireland’s last four home defeats since 2016 have ended 1-0 whilst four of their last five were by just a single-goal margin.
On the other hand, Age Hareide’s Danes have seen over 3.5 goals in three of their previous four games.
The last time a League of Ireland played a competitive game for the Republic of Ireland was in 1985, as Pat Byrne was the most recent domestic player was don the green shirt in a competitive game.
Republic of Ireland 21/10; Draw 21/10; Denmark 5/4.
Republic of Ireland 1 - 0 Denmark
Republic of Ireland
Injured: Derrick Williams, Aaron Connolly.
Suspended: Seamus Coleman.
Additional reporting by Macdara Ferris