1. ITV Report

Irish World Cup hopes dashed by five-star Danes

  • Republic of Ireland 1 - 5 Denmark

Irish World Cup hopes have been dashed by Denmark, after they came from a goal down to defeat the Republic of Ireland 5-1 in the second leg of their play-off in Dublin on Tuesday.

Following a scoreless draw in Denmark, it was all to play for at the Aviva Stadium.

And a dream start saw Shane Duffy put Ireland ahead, but - inspired by Christian Eriksen - the Danes stormed back to book their place in the finals.

Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring for Denmark in Dublin. Credit: INPHO

Eriksen scored a superb hat-trick, bringing his tally to 11 in the qualifying campaign, as the early energy was quickly sapped from Martin O’Neill’s side.

The home fans, the 12th man on this momentous occasion, were in raptures of delight on six minutes when the hosts took the lead.

It came from a chipped in free kick by Robbie Brady, when Jorgensen made a mess of his attempted clearance and the ball looped up and Duffy nipped in to head over a stranded Kasper Schmeichel.

Shane Duffy scored the opener for the Republic of Ireland. Credit: INPHO

Denmark were direct in their bid to find an early reply, but the Irish back line remained solid until a well-worked move brought an anxious moment on 16 minutes.

Christensen rolled a neat pass to Kvist and his low drive was pushed away for a corner by Darren Randolph.

Not long after, Randolph was in the perfect spot to save the day again, this time blocking a shot from Sisto who was left unmarked inside the box.

Darren Randolph in action for the Republic. Credit: INPHO

But Denmark turned the game upside down with two goals in four minutes to lead 2-1.

Sisto helped create the equaliser, getting past Arter and getting in the cross for Christensen to poke the ball towards the goal.

The ball bounced off the post and then off Cyrus Christie who tried to keep it out.

Andreas Christensen tooka shot that went in off Cyrus Christie for Denmark's equaliser. Credit: INPHO

Another hammer blow for Ireland arrived on 32 minutes.

Poulsen won the ball off Ward and, when the ball fell to Eriksen just inside the box, the Spurs man smashed a shot in off the underside of the bar.

With away goals counting as double, Ireland had to find three and manager Martin O’Neill had no option but to gamble on a more attacking formation in the second half with Wes Hoolahan and Aiden McGeady brought into the action.

Wes Hoolahan with Thomas Delaney Credit: INPHO

The Tottenham talisman put the final nail in Ireland’s coffin with another sublime finish on 63 minutes.

The hosts failed to mark him closely and, when he picked up the ball from Sisto, he had time to curl a left foot beauty into the net.

And the star of the show was not finished as Eriksen sealed his hat-trick on 74 minutes.

Christian Eriksen bagged a hat-trick for Denmark. Credit: INPHO

It was again a majestic finish, but poor defending brought about the chance as Ward failed to clear and the Spurs man smashed the ball home.

A painful night got worse with James McClean conceding a penalty in the 89th minute with his challenge on sub Nicklas Bendtner.

He made no mistake from the spot to make it 5-1 and seal the victory for the Danes.

An emotional James McClean was left gutted by the result. Credit: INPHO