Monday 19 March 2018

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Cork Independent


World Cup dream is over

Wednesday, 15th November, 2017 5:48pm

It's goodbye to Russia as Ireland failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after a 5-1 hammering at home to Denmark.

It was all to play for in the second leg of the playoff after a 0-0 draw in the first leg last Saturday and fans were dreaming after just five minutes when Shane Duffy put his side 1-0 up after heading home a goal.

For 20 minutes thereafter, Denmark produced a couple of chances to equalise only to see their efforts denied, while Ireland were almost 2-0 up when James McClean shot wide from a tight angle.

But after 29 minutes, it all went terribly wrong for the Irish when a series of errors led to a sloppy goal. From a corner, Andreas Christensen prodded the ball goal-ward, and Cyrus Christie couldn't keep it out on the line as it cannoned off the post and in off his foot.

There was further heartbreak just two minutes after, when Denmark took the lead as Christian Eriksen found himself in space inside the area, and produced the goal of the night, smacking the ball in off the crossbar leaving the Irish with an uphill battle, needing two goals at least to qualify for Russia.

Despite two substitutions at halftime, David Meyler and Harry Arter departed for Wes Hoolahan and Aiden McGeady, Ireland had a second half to forget, conceding three more goals, two from Eriksen and a Nicklas Bendtner penalty at the death, with the game finishing 5-1.

Ireland had chances to score in the second half - through Duffy and Shane Long late on - but the boys in green were unable to take them and finished their World Cup qualifying campaign in hugely disappointing fashion.

Tuesday nights match was only the second time Ireland lost in the entire qualifying campaign which began in September 2016 and we now join Italy, the Netherlands and Chile among others, as teams who have not qualified for the tournament next summer.

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