Ireland eliminated as Eriksen fires Denmark through

Published on: 14 November 2017

Christian Eriksen's hat trick helped Denmark qualify for the 2018 World Cup with a 5-1 win over Republic of Ireland, whose hopes ended in the UEFA playoffs once more.

With the tie level following a goalless first leg, Ireland started well and took an early lead when Robbie Brady sent a long free kick into the box.

Nicolai Jorgensen tried to clear but just popped it back into the air, and Shane Duffy rose highest to head it in.

But the joy at the Aviva Stadium was short-lived as Denmark found an away goal in the 29th minute to pull ahead.

Following a corner, Pione Sisto drove into the box and put a hopeful ball into the mass of bodies in front, where Andreas Christensen scuffed a shot off the post, but it went in after striking defender Cyrus Christie.

And it was 2-1 in favour of the visitors three minutes later as Brady was dispossessed and Denmark pushed forward. Christian Eriksen lashed home a shot from the edge of the box off the underside of the bar to put the Danes in full control.

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Ireland needed two goals to get to Russia, and Martin O'Neill made two changes at the break, bringing on Aiden McGeady and Wes Hoolahan.

However, Denmark remained on top and Eriksen found himself in on goal, only for Darren Randolph to stop his shot.

But the goalkeeper had no chance a few minutes later, as Sisto laid the ball off for Eriksen, who curled a shot into the net from 20 yards to put the lead out of reach.

And the Tottenham man was the quickest to react in the 73rd minute, pouncing after Stephen Ward failed to deal with a cross to complete his hat trick.

Substitute Nicklas Bendtner wrapped up the win with a penalty after being taken out by James McClean.

It was another slip-up for Ireland at the final hurdle, after they also lost in a playoff in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

But unlike eight years ago, when Thierry Henry's handball went uncalled and doomed Ireland, there was no doubt who deserved to go through on Tuesday night.