In what must be one of the worst football games of 2019, Denmark managed to secure passage to Euro 2020 on the back of a 1-1 draw in Dublin.
Quite the opposite of the famous 5-1 game of two years ago, it certainly was an ugly affair. The Danes probably won’t mind, though.
A packed Aviva Stadium in Dublin witnessed the game open cautiously, with neither team looking to push the envelope. A draw was enough for Denmark and the Irish were content to wait for their chance.
The Danes lost Thomas Delaney and Andreas Cornelius to injury in the first half hour and were on the back foot by halftime as the Irish inched closer. Shane Duffy was forever lurking for a sniff of a header.
Fight to the finish
The Danes hadn’t managed a shot on goal by the time Martin Braithwaite’s toe poke put them ahead after 73 minutes. It was practically his first touch of the ball … and he was in the starting lineup.
Matt Doherty resuscitated Irish dreams on 85 minutes with a powerful header, but the Danes managed to hold on as the Irish threw everything forward in the dying minutes.
The result sees Denmark finish second in Group B behind the Swiss, who snatched first place by thrashing Gibraltar 6-1 tonight.
It also sees the Danes keep their unbeaten streak alive under coach Åge Hareide – it’s up to 34 now, with Spain and Brazil sharing the world record with 35 each.
Denmark is now assured of playing two games at home in Parken Stadium during Euro 2020.
Five teams still need to qualify before the draw takes place on November 30, but it is already for certain that Russia will be in Denmark’s group as Copenhagen and St Petersburg are paired-up host cities.
A lottery will take place to see who gets to play at home in the match-up between the third-seeded Danes and the second-seed Russians. If Germany beats Northern Ireland tomorrow, Belgium will join the Danish group as the top seed, while Finland has a good chance to be the last team as the fourth seed. Wales or Slovakia could also be in instead of the Finns, pending results tomorrow.
In total, Copenhagen will host three group stage games and a last-16 fixture.