It's off to the play-offs we go.

Ireland produced a spirited display against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium but were caught cold by a Martin Braithwaite sucker-punch and ultimately lacked the cutting edge in front of goal to pull this one off.

Here's how we rated the home players.


His distribution was a little off in the first half – maybe he was still a bit rusty having been sidelined with that thigh injury for an extended period – but bar that, he actually didn’t have a save of note to make all night, Braithwaite stealing in for that costly Danish opener out of nowhere.


He was tasked with filling in for Seamus Coleman as a functional right-back as opposed to the more attacking wing-back role he performs so well with Wolves, and played conservatively in the first period, as he was likely told to. Like a lot of his team-mates he came to life after the break. One winding run before the hour mark stirred the whole stadium. And then, the Denmark goal. Doherty appeared to switch off as Braithwaite peeled away to volley home a goal that sucked the life out of Ireland. Showed character to score a really good leveller and had some eye-catching moments going forward. The goal will sting him though.


Made a brilliant block to stop an Eriksen rocket in the 27th minute which summed up his qualities, showing courage, anticipation and great positional sense to boom the volley into the stands with his head. Almost got on the end of a wicked Whelan ball on the stroke of half-time and had looked in total control until the visitors landed a sucker-punch.

John Egan was forced off with a calf injury


Lifted the mood two minutes in by charging into the middle of the park and throwing himself at a long ball to win a header and played on the front foot, before a calf injury ended his night after 45 minutes.


Got to grips with Yussuf Poulsen and Henrik Dalsgaard on the Danish right very early on and had a really solid game thereafter. Composed and never ruffled, he looks more comfortable in a green shirt with every game.


A surprise inclusion on the right, Browne took a while to settle into the position, lacking the acceleration to really go at Jens Stryger Larsen. He let fly with a very decent left-footed half volley off McGoldrick’s knockdown on 37 minutes and looked more comfortable after the break. Neat and tidy in possession, but he didn’t have the pace to get in behind the visiting defence. Browne was much more at ease when he was shifted into the middle.


The veteran said he wanted to relish one more big night at the Aviva and he was tireless in his usual role of shielding the back four. Had a few stray passes and tired later on but this was another good shift form the Dubliner.


Missed a big opportunity 11 minutes before the break when he seemed caught off guard by just how much time he had after surging into the Denmark box, curling a tame effort straight at Schmeichel. It was a chance he should have taken with his, admittedly weaker, right foot. Bent a brilliant ball in from the right three minutes into the second half that Schmeichel unconvincingly pawed away. Had tossed in a couple of decent crosses with his left peg from that flank before making way for Callum Robinson.

Jeff Hendrick did well to keep Eriksen quiet 


Exerted enormous energy in the first half without really influencing the play. Hendrick was tasked with nullifying Eriksen but he looked nervous and ponderous the first half. Much better on the turnaround when he gambled more in an attacking sense.


As tenacious as always and clattered into tackles with relish, but McClean needs open space in the final third to really make an attacking impact and he rarely got it. His energy never relents even if the quality of his play doesn’t always match it.


An immense shift. Gobbled up ground, sucked up ball and provided Ireland with intelligence and touch. He’s of massive importance to this team.


Ciaran Clark for Egan (HT) 6

Twice got his head on corners soon after he came on, which gave the Danes a bit more to think about than Duffy from set-pieces. Not at fault for the goal and was defensively sound overall.

Callum Robinson for Hourihane (68) 6

Came on just five minutes before Denmark broke the deadlock. It made it difficult for the Preston man to get his tail up and he was mostly on the fringes of the action.

Sean Maguire for Whelan (82) 7

He should have come on ten minutes earlier. Gave Ireland a badly needed dart of pace, loads of energy and was key to the late rally.