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Cloudy and overcast with a chance of drizzle, winds should be light and temperatures between 5c and 8c at the Aviva Stadium.


Saturday night’s clash in Copenhagen played out exactly as many predicted it would. Ireland were defensive, made it hard for Denmark and eventually got the result they came for, a scoreless draw that leaves qualification for next year’s World Cup very much in their own hands.

A win against the Danes in Dublin means that it’ll be time to start looking up Aeroflot timetables and checking out the Russian for ‘two pints please’ - dve pinty, pozhaluysta - according to Google translate, seeing as you’re asking.

Ireland are returning to familiar territory having come through a similar scenario in their final qualifying group game against Wales in Cardiff. Nothing will do but a win for Martin O’Neill’s side albeit they may have the luxury of extra-time or even penalties to get the job done at the Aviva Stadium.

Denmark, meanwhile, have the advantage of knowing that any score draw will see them go through on the away goals rule.

Another scoreless draw in 90 minutes will see extra-time being required and away goals will still count for double in extra-time, so the only result that can lead to a penalty shootout would be a scoreless draw after 120 minutes.


The Danes were very visibly frustrated by Ireland’s defensive tactics on Saturday both on the pitch and of it afterwards.

Several Danish players made the point in their post-match interviews that they expect the return leg to be a more open affair with Ireland playing in Dublin and carrying the expectations of the home supporters on their shoulders.

While it’s true that Ireland need to score to go through, don’t for a second think that Martin O’Neill will send his side out to go at the Danes gung-ho.

The Irish boss will be well aware of the need to again keep things tight at the back and to play a deep line in order to negate the Danish tactic of sending arcing cross-field passes out to the flanks in order to try and get behind their oppositions defensive line.

The game against Wales could provide the template and if, as expected; David Meyler comes back into the starting line-up at the expense of Calum O’Dowda, O’Neill may go with the exact same eleven that started the game in Cardiff.

That would mean no place in the starting team for Wes Hoolahan, which would be sure to have Eamon Dunphy pulling his hair out, and while many Ireland supporters would agree with the RTÉ pundit on Hoolahan, so far O’Neill’s results in this campaign have justified his selection choices.

The Ireland camp won’t feel any pressure to go out and chase the game in the first half and O’Neill will be more than happy to go in at the break with the game scoreless and then he’ll think about making changes, including bringing on the 35-year-old midfielder to change things.

Expected Irish team: Randolph, Ward, Clark, Duffy, Christie, Meyler, Hendrick, Brady, Arter, McClean, Murphy


In the aftermath of the game in Copenhagen, several Denmark players made the point that poor quality of the pitch at the Parken Stadium hindered their ability to get the ball down and play football, so the surface at the Aviva should be more conducive to passing football.

That may or may not be true depending on how well the ground staff have been able to whip the pitch back into shape following Saturday’s rugby international there while Sunday's night's frosty weather in Dublin may also play a part in the pitch condition.

Denmark may have some more skilful players than Ireland but their attacking game plan remains pretty basic. Expect to see plenty of long, searching passes from midfield, aimed out towards Pione Sisto and Andreas Cornelius, with the two widemen then bringing others into play.

The Danes aren’t the kind of side to drastically alter their gameplan we’ll see more of what they offered in Copenhagen.

They’ll line up again in a 4-3-3, looking to spread the out to the wings and stretch the play to make room for the likes of Christian Eriksen and Nicolai Jorgensen in the centre. It didn’t work for them in the first leg and hopefully they’ll be just as frustrated in Dublin.

Denmark don’t have an away record to shout about either. Their only wins away from home in the qualifying stage came against Kazakhstan, Armenia and Montenegro and as well as losing to group winners Poland, they also dropped points in Romania.


Like Copenhagen, it won’t be pretty, it won’t be open and there won’t be many chances. O’Neill may well infuriate a selection of the Irish support base with his selection and approach but that will all be forgotten if Ireland book their place in Russia.

Don’t expect a drastically different game from the first leg and the result may very well prove to be the same over 90 minutes, but O’Neill has the utmost faith in his methods and patient, if nervy, Ireland fans may well be rewarded with an extra-time win.

Prediction: 1-0 to Ireland AET.

Watch Republic of Ireland v Denmark live on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player from 7pm, commentary and analysis on RTÉ Radio 1 and live blog on RTÉ Sport Online from 7pm