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Saturday 14 December 2019

Onward Christian soldiers towards Dublin showdown

Denmark 6 Gibraltar 0

Christian Eriksen. Pic: Getty Images
Christian Eriksen. Pic: Getty Images

One of those nights which the beer company that sponsors the Danish national team could have dreamed up in their marketing department.

A win, six goals scored, a clean sheet and signs of a revival from a worrying slump, by ome of their key players (mainly Christian Eriksen) are the takeaway items for Denmark from this win over Gibraltar, an evening which was a bit of a slog before Danish class put away a sorry Gibraltar side in the second half.

Mick McCarthy was watching the game on TV back in Dublin, with his staff and players, and while he won't need to be told of the danger that Eriksen can pose to an Ireland team - who fears to speak of 2017, after all? - this display by the Spurs man, even allowing for the poverty of the opposition, will be a real concern.

Eriksen (above) has been a shadow of himself for long spells this season. Out of the team at Tottenham, seen by some to be sulking over the non-appearance of a summer move to a bigger club, even back in Denmark there was talk that the crown of the national hero had slipped, rumours of scandal greedily lapped up the Danish tabloids.

Eriksen could have been rested last night as he's needed on Monday, a stronger case for leaving him out when the coa ch saw the state of the playing surface at the Telia Parken, all boggy and brown patches, not conducive to his class.

Not only did he play, he played the entire game, and scored two goals - the second one of the worst 'gimmies' you'll see this year as a Gibraltar defender just gifted the ball to him in the box (maybe Joseph Chipolina wanted Eriksen to remember him to make sure he'd swap shirts after).

But overall this was a night to gladden Danish hearts and strike a good deal of fear into Irish ones.

Ireland scored in the first half at home to Gibraltar but scored just once more. Denmark too had only a 1-0 lead at the break but ripped it up in the second 45 minutes with five more goals.

Gibraltar had a good shape about them for the first 45 minutes, and even had an attempt on Kasper Schmeichel's goal which was ruled offside, but they fell apart in the second half.

Eriksen had time and space to score twice in the last five minutes, his second the last kick of the ball after Chipolina presented him with the ball in the box,.

And onward Christian soldiers, to Dublin.

Elsewhere in the group last night, a 1-0 win for Switzerland saw them all but qualified, as they face Gibraltar on Monday.

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