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Friday 20 September 2019

Nightmare in Georgia for the Danes as Eriksen suffers baclkash

CRITICISM: Denmark’s Christian Eriksen (right) in action against Georgia’s Giorgi Aburjania. Photo: REUTERS/Vasil Gedenidze
CRITICISM: Denmark’s Christian Eriksen (right) in action against Georgia’s Giorgi Aburjania. Photo: REUTERS/Vasil Gedenidze

The good news is that Georgia have done Ireland a favour by taking valuable points off a Danish side whose road to Euro 2020 now looks a little more bumpy.

The bad news is that the Georgians, in last night’s 0-0 draw at home to Denmark, showed that they have made some progress in recent months and will be a daunting opposition for Ireland when Mick McCarthy next takes his side into battle, in the Boris Paichadze Stadium next month.

Switzerland, as expected, breezed past the challenge of Gibraltar last night, the Swiss winning 4-0 in Sion,  and they are now three points behind Group D leaders Ireland although with a game in hand.

And Georgia’s ability to hold the Danes in Tbilisi, while a boost for Irish qualification hopes, also inserts a note of caution to those who expected Ireland to land at least four points from the October games – a win in Tbilisi and a draw in Geneva.

Georgia’s record against Scotland helped Ireland to qualify for Euro 2016 but Irish displays in Tbilisi have never been convincing and McCarthy now has a month to come up with a game plan to find a way to win over there.

Georgian preparations for the Danish game were plagued by discussion about the future of their manager, with Vladimir Weiss linked with a move to a club in Kazakhstan. Now, with this draw under his belt. he’s almost certain to stay on for Ireland’s visit.

Failure to win away to Georgia would put McCarthy’s side under immense pressure heading to Switzerland. The Danes are now under real scrutiny, though they did not have their manager in the dugout in Tbilisi as Age Hareide stayed at home for a medical procedure, leaving baby-faced assistant Jon Dal Tomasson in charge.

And the former Newcastle United man had a frustrating evening in Tbilisi.

“It was a very difficult game and we weren’t able to play in the way we wanted,” he said after the 0-0 draw.

“We controlled the game and Georgia only had one or two chances. But we did not do enough to win the game.”

Danish media outlets criticised Tomasson for the outcome but Spurs man Christian Eriksen also drew the ire of commentators there, one Danish newspaper labelling the 0-0 draw as his worst-ever display in a Danish shirt.

“We don’t make it easy on ourselves but we are still in with a chance of making it to the Euros,” said Denmark’s Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Ireland next play Georgia (Saturday October 12) and Switzerland (October 15).

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