Denmark and Ireland are closing on Saturday, November 11, the first leg of the play-off that will mark the final four qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Scheduled to start at 17:45 (GMT), the clash takes place at Telia Parken in Copenhagen. The return game is scheduled for November 14 in Dublin. Goal balance and number of goals scored outside the home can be used as tiebreaker criteria if need be.
Denmark’s recent performance
The first Danish participation in the World Cup has entered history. In the 1986 World Cup, played in Mexico, the team received the nickname “Dinamáquina” for its offensive and engaging soccer. Although it was remarkable, it was not this generation that reached the best result of the country in a World-wide one. This happened in 1998, in the Cup of France, with the classification for the quarterfinals. They were points off the curve for a small country that has its top players playing overseas.
The start of the qualifying round gave the impression that once again the Danes would be out of the World Cup. However, in the second round of the competition, the team gave a start with four victories in a row and in the tenth and final day ensured their survival by drawing at home with Romania, by 1 to 1. It reached 20 points (six wins, two draws and two defeats), four more than Montenegro, third placed, and five fewer than Poland, Group E champion automatically qualified for the World Cup.
The unbeaten run that reaches nine games (five wins and four draws), including official and friendly games, has changed the mood in the country and created an ‘already won’ mood. Report published in a local newspaper, for example, revealed that the market value of Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen is bigger than any Irish team added.
The positive environment was fueled by the good news regarding athletes who were doubtful for the duels due to bruises. Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen is in this group. At 26, he suffered a left ankle injury, but returned to training and is expected to be released for Saturday’s game.
In a similar situation are defenders Simon Kjaer and Andreas Bjellend as well as striker Andreas Cornelius, who showed signs of regaining their best fitness.
The squad for the playoffs were:
Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Frederik Rønnow (Brondby), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield);
Defenders: Andreas Bjelland (Brentford), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Mathias Jørgensen (Huddersfield), Peter Ankersen (Copenhagen), Simon Kjær );
Socks: Lukas Lerager (Bordeaux), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Mike Jensen (Rosenborg), Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo), Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen), William Kvist (Copenhagen);
Attackers: Andreas Cornelius (Atalanta), Nicklas Bendtner (Rosenborg), Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord), Viktor Fischer (Mainz) and Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig)
The current form of Ireland
The Irish tradition in worldwide is even smaller than that of the Danes. There were three appearances against four of the rivals. Although none of them were as memorable as the Dynamachine’s participation, the best result was the same: the qualification for the quarterfinals. This happened at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, when the Irish played for the first time in the finals of the tournament.
The qualifying campaign also did not inspire high hopes for the fans, who had to have two victories in the final double round to see their team reach second place in Group D. By defeating fragile Moldova 2-0, Wales, a direct rival, 1-0, Ireland had 19 points (five wins, four draws and one defeat), leaving the Welsh in third place with 17. Serbia took the place as the group’s champion.
Survival was by a hair, since the spot in the play was reserved for eight of the nine best placed seconds. The Irish were in eighth place in this list, surpassing only Slovakia.
To face Denmark, new obstacles appeared in the way of coach Michel O’Neil. He made a list of 34 players to prepare for the duels, but lost three athletes from that group by injury.
One of the most significant casualties was midfielder James McCarthy of Everton, who suffered a knee injury. He had called again after being out of the last two matches also due to concussion. Richard Keogh and Sean Maguire were still missing. By technical decision, David McGoldrick, Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan and Jonny Hayes were still cut.
So the following athletes were available for the playoffs:
Goalkeepers: Randolph (Middlesbrough), Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Elliot (Newcastle), Doyle (Bradford);
Defenders: Christie (Middlesbrough), Doherty (Wolves), McShane (Reading), Duffy (Brighton), Clark (Newcastle), O’Shea (Sunderland), K Long (Burnley), Ward (Burnley);
Socks: McGeady (Sunderland), Whelan (Aston Villa), Hourihane (Aston Villa), Arter Bournemouth, Brady Burnley, Hendrick Burnley O’Kane Leeds Meyler Hull, , O’Dowda (Bristol City), McClean (West Brom);
Attackers: Long (Southampton), Murphy (Nottingham Forest), Hogan (Aston Villa), O’Brien (Millwall).
History of the matches Denmark vs Ireland
Before the qualifiers for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Irish and Danish played 13 times. There were five Irish victories, five draws and three Danish successes.
Eleven of those duels were in official matches. The first two of them won the qualifiers for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. The Irish beat 2-1 at home and 2-1 away.
Their paths returned to cross in the qualifiers for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. There was a 1-1 draw in Ireland and a Danish home success by 2-0. In the extra game, a 1-1 draw.
The third official match took place in the qualifiers for the Euro 1980. In Denmark, they were drawn 3-3. In Ireland, the winners were 2-0.
For the qualifiers for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Denmark won 3-0 at home and 4-1 away. With a place in the 1994 World Cup, there were two similarities. No goal on Danish soil and 1 to 1 in Ireland.
By playing at home and having a superior technical quality, Denmark is the best guessing option for the showdown. Appears at 1.75 on Bet365. The prize for draw is 3.50 and the Irish home win return is 6.00 per real bet.