Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Hat-trick hero Eriksen books Denmark's World Cup spot

Leicester star Kasper Schmeichel will start in goal for Denmark GETTY Leicester star Kasper Schmeichel will start in goal for Denmark
Kristopher Love | 15 November, 2017, 02:21

Denmark's Christian Eriksen scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 thrashing of a disjointed Ireland in their playoff second leg on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time) in Dublin to secure the final European berth at next year's World Cup.

The Central American nation have qualified for the World Cup but the Welsh have missed out and lost 2-0 to France in a friendly in Paris on Friday.

And with that heroic performance, Denmark qualifies for the World Cup for the first time since 2010.

Denmark's Christian Eriksen celebrates after the match against Republic of Ireland.

"I'm naturally disappointed because a couple of nights ago in Copenhagen we had fought very, very strongly", O'Neill, who cut short an interview with national broadcaster RTE, told a news conference. It was around the half-hour mark that Denmark turned the match around with two valuable away goals.

"We're in this stage here and we thought we could win this game, but we didn't win the game, we were well beaten in the end and we have to take this punishment".

"I'm very pleased for the team, this is a hard place to play football - they're compact and good defensively, so scoring five against Ireland does not happen very often".

"We'll take this with us and try to score as many goals as possible at the World Cup as well", said the midfielder, who doused former global defender Lars Jacobsen, who was broadcasting for Danish TV, with champagne as he celebrated. They deserved to go through.

Asked how far his free-flowing team could go at next year's tournament, Hareide said it would depend on the draw but added that the side wanted to improve and play good football.

"It's not often I score a hat-trick so of course it's incredible taking your country to the World Cup with three goals away in a play-off". We were more effective than in Parken, the effectiveness is very important in football.

Despite the defeat on Tuesday night, many will eventually reflect on the positive nature of the qualifying campaign which saw them finish second in a group they were seeded fourth in, getting the better of Austria and Wales to make it to the play-offs. "They are technically better than us and had a world-class player [Eriksen] in their team". I take the more clinical shot rather than passing.