To finish the final of the first legs of the World Cup Qualification Playoffs we have Denmark taking on the Republic of Ireland in Copenhagen. Can Martin O’Neill’s Boys in Green continue their fine away record? ProTipsterPaddy has a look at the stats for you.
World Cup Qualification
Denmark come into this on a bit of a high, they certainly didn’t expect to be in this position when they scrapped past Armenia with a 1-0 win and then lost to Montenegro at home. As you’ll probably know by now the Danes have been hit by injuries and while Ireland are also missing a few of their regulars they’re long-term absentees that O’Neill dealt with for Ireland’s last away match in Cardiff where they beat Wales 0-1. The Danes are more likely to miss their first team regulars than Ireland are.
Christian Eriksen is obviously Denmark’s main man
As I’ve said, Denmark lost at home to Montenegro but they put in a stellar performance against Poland and hammered Robert Lewandowski’s Biało-Czerwoni 4-0. They also put 4 past Kazakhstan but could only manage a 1-1 draw with Cosmin Contra’s Romania.
Christian Eriksen is obviously Denmark’s main man, but Werder Bremen’s Thomas Delaney is having the season of his life in the Bundesliga while FC Copenhagen’s William Kvist has been doing the donkey’s work of breaking up play in midfield. Wingers Yussuf Poulsen is a regular scorer for Red Bull Leipzig as is Celta Vigo attacker Pione Sisto for Los Célticos. (Lord) Nicholas Bentdner is their regular main striker though but you’d doubt Irish defenders Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark suffered a sleepless night thinking of him.
Denmark scored 10 goals in their 5 home games and conceded only 3. Both Teams to Score landed in 3 of those games so obviously the Danes keep it very tight at home. We could see a terribly boring game here if the Danes are expecting The Boys in Green to come out and attack.
Ireland picked up 11 points from 15, scoring 8
Ireland’s biggest problem for the last few years is that they can’t depend on a regular goalscorer. Shane Long hasn’t scored since Moses was a child and alarmingly Ireland’s biggest goal threat seems to come from central defender Shane Duffy. However, Ireland do have a pool of talent in midfield, Jeff Hendrick is having a great season. Robbie Brady is always a threat from a set piece and sure Wes Hoolahan, should he play, can turn on a sixpence and unlock any defence. But will he play? It’s tough to call, Martin O’Neill probably doesn’t even know. Sure he usually only names the team an hour before kickoff. David Meyler will be a big miss and while Harry Arter has talent he’s also got a temper. James McClean though is also in great form for Ireland, he’s been the standout player in the campaign.
Ireland have a very good away record, they picked up 11 points from 15, scoring 8 and conceding 5. Ireland can score, they just can’t rely on one person to step up and do it regularly.
O’Neill’s tactic has been to try and get an early goal and defend it. It’s infuriating to watch, but with Ireland only needing a draw or even a narrow loss to take back to Dublin it’s hard to see him not going for that again.
Denmark Vs Ireland Predictions
Over on ProTipster.com the most popular bet for this match is for Denmark to Win at 1.74 and you could certainly see a 1-0, 2-1 here. Personally I think it’s too short, but you can certainly see the Danes winning, so if that’s the type of odds you like going with then maybe it’s for you.
For me, I have to go with Both Teams to Score at 2.55. While I know Denmark didn’t concede many goals at home, they did let in goals from Montenegro, Kazakhstan and Romania and with Ireland being such a threat from set pieces you can see the Irish getting on the scoresheet.
As an Irishman I think Ireland can win, but I very much doubt they could defend a 0-1 lead against the likes of Eriksen, Poulsen and Sisto. Let’s remember though that this is the Irish team that beat World Cup winners Germany, Italy in the Euros last year and gave France a scare as well. And sure they made light world of a hotly-tipped Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Playoff to get to France. I’m hoping for a Boys in Green away win, but I’d happily take a score draw.
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