COPENHAGEN Ė Denmark failed on its home turf to overcome Irish defenders with a bumbling performance in a game without brilliance, in which the visitors got the result they wanted Ė playing the second leg of the 2018 World Cup qualifying playoffs back home in Dublin next Tuesday.
The game didnít stick to the script: Ireland fell back to its own territory and set up a tough defense against the Danesí attacks, closing spaces, defending the 0-0 tie like a treasure and waiting to see what moves Denmark would make, since the latter maintained almost full possession of the ball.
Denmark manager Hareide repeated the attack strategy that had thrashed Poland, with Cornelius placed to make the most of his physical superiority, but without much luck. The Irish werenít impressed, and also knew how to isolate Eriksen, the Danesí brain and also the teamís top scorer.
But there was too much in the way of direct attacks and the Danes lacked the patience to outmaneuver an Irish team without an excess of talent but very disciplined and very determined.
Even so, Denmark had three very clear chances in the first half but was unable to convert any of them.
Things got no better for Denmark in the second half. Added to the difficulties of breaking through the rival defense were errors brought on by too much hurrying and a lack of ideas. Only Eriksen and Sisto came close to structuring scoring plays, but luck was not with them.
For the Danes the game went from bad to worse and Ireland looked quite comfortable, though without shining much on the attack.
Even bringing on Bendtner, the Danesí most trusted scorer over the past decade, could prove to be a game-changer. Denmark was a study in impotence and the game ended in a goalless tie.