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Monday 24 September 2018

Brady: 'Danes will have to work hard to break our spirit'

Robbie Brady limbers up at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen last night. Photo: Sportsfile
Robbie Brady limbers up at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen last night. Photo: Sportsfile

Let them try.

That's the message from Robbie Brady as Denmark attempt to deny Brady and his Ireland team-mates a place at the World Cup finals.

In the build-up to tonight's first leg in Copenhagen, the Danish camp have spent a lot of time talking about the spirit and fighting qualities in the Ireland camp - not so many mentions of the Premier League class in Martin O'Neill's outfit.

So an obvious question for Brady, when he sat beside O'Neill for media duties in the Parken Stadium, was whether Denmark could do anything to break that Irish spirit.

"They can try but we are ready, we have done our homework and are prepared, so we will have to wait and see," says Brady, one option for O'Neill as captain tonight.

"We know they have some fantastic players, it's going to be a tough game. I am sure they will be prepared to the best of their capability and we are also prepared, it has the makings of a good game."

Brady announced himself on the big stage in France last year but he struck a major blow for the first time before that, scoring Ireland's goal in the away leg of their play-off against Bosnia.

That precious away goal, scored amid the fog of Zenica, set up Ireland for the home leg, and success followed, and Brady feels there are elements of that Bosnian win which can aid the cause here in Denmark.

"If we can, we will use anything from that night and take it into tonight," says Brady, now a key member of the panel as he took over the role played by now-absent senior faces.

"To go in with the belief when you're that close to a World Cup, it's there for the taking for both sides. If we can take anything from that game, it will be belief.

"It's a different squad, we had a couple of senior players that have left. Over the past couple of years it's been good to knit together some of the new lads coming in. It's a strong group we have.

"I was there a couple of years ago before the lads came in, to help them settle in and we have had a decent campaign so far."

Brady's name has cropped up more than once in the build-up to tonight, any time Ireland's poor disciplinary record is mentioned.

"Well Robbie has missed most of the competition. He has been suspended about 15 times," O'Neill joked when asked about Brady's tendency to hoover up cards and get the attention of the match referee.

Roy Keane also stressed the need for caution and pointed out the difference between taking a booking for a tackle which had to be made, and then getting booked for "silly things" like kicking the ball away, talking back to the referee, or diving.

Brady has served two bans in this campaign for amassing yellow cards and he's all too aware of the pain of missing out.

Ireland go into battle tonight with 10 players on a booking, and if Serbian referee Milorad Mazic is a tad card-happy tonight, Ireland may need to rebuild a side for the second leg thanks to more bans.

But Brady says the players can't get distracted by the disciplinary matter.

"There are a few going into the game on yellow cards but you can't focus on that, we have a job to do, we will get that done first and foremost but if we can avoid picking up yellow cards that will be helpful," added Brady, one of the few starters for Ireland tonight who is not on a booking.

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