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Monday 21 May 2018

'Ireland will play the same way again' - Eriksen

Denmark's Christian Eriksen gestures towards the Irish fans after Saturday's night's draw in Copenhagen
Denmark's Christian Eriksen gestures towards the Irish fans after Saturday's night's draw in Copenhagen

The pre-match prediction by Denmark's manager, that Ireland would be easy to read but hard to play against, came true on a boggy pitch in Copenhagen on Saturday night.

And Christian Eriksen, a frustrated figure for long spells of the 90 minutes in the first leg, says he expects more of the same from Ireland when the two teams do battle again in Dublin tomorrow night.

Eriksen looked a touch embarrassed to accept the man of the match award, as voted by Danish fans watching on TV, a gallon-sized bottle of Carslberg the trophy thrust into his hands.

The Spurs man was unable to get the time and space to dominate as he had had hoped to do, that midfield area bogged down with bodies for long spells and Eriksen, who had scored in his previous six internationals, rarely came close to troubling Darren Randolph (though he did try his luck with a shot at one stage thanks to a welcome, but unexpected, assist from Ciaran Clark.

He predicts that Ireland will do the same again tomorrow, the challenge then for the Danes to open up the home side. "They played the same style through all of qualification, so I don't think it will change that much on Tuesday," says Eriksen.

"They were the away team, they wanted to stop us from scoring. I can't blame them.

"At home, they might be a bit more adventurous with the fans at their back, but I don't think it will change too much. They will be scared of us scoring a goal, that would be a big hit. The first goal is very important.

Compact

"I feel that we will have our chance in Dublin, I'm really confident. We know it will be a tough game. It's another massive stadium with their fans behind them," added Eriksen, unable to get on the ball as much as he'd wished.

"They played very compact. It wasn't easy. We went for more long balls than we should have," he admitted.

Eriksen is on the big stage at club level, his weekly diet of games with Spurs a world away from the bog-standard Championship fare for Irish players like Darren Randolph, Cyrus Christie and Daryl Murphy.

He has played at the World Cup finals once, in 2010, but he's desperate to get there again, at Ireland's expense, but only if he can up his own game.

"Every player wants to send their country to a World Cup, it is the biggest thing you can achieve. I will try to take my chances. I tried that here but the last pass wasn't good enough," says Eriksen, who says that qualification would surpass the recent Champions League win for his side over Real Madrid.

"It would mean a lot for me personally and for the country overall. Getting your country to a World Cup is one of the biggest things you can do for your country."

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