Denmark have crushed the Republic of Ireland to clinch qualification for next summer's World Cup. Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen provided more offense than the Danes would need to go through.
Republic of Ireland 1-5 Denmark
(Duffy 6' — Christie o.g. 29', Eriksen 32', 63', 73', Bendtner pen. 90')
Christian Eriksen (pictured above, left) scored a hat trick in Dublin on Tuesday to lead Denmark to a 5-1 victory in the second leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff.
"It is an incredible feeling. We have been fighting for so long to get to the World Cup. We are very much looking forward to it," Eriksen said. "It is not often I score any hat trick so of course it is incredible."
This came after Shane Duffy had lifted the hopes of the home fans by getting the Irish out into a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. However, they will have felt hard done by on an equalizer from Andreas Christensen, which was bundled in by Irish defender Cyrus Christie.
Late substitute Niklas Bendtner rounded out the scoring for the Danes, putting away a spot kick in the 90th minute after having drawn the foul which led to the penalty.
The mood in the home dressing room was understandably somber.
"We're really disappointed. We were well beaten in the end," Ireland coach Martin O'Neill said. "The two goals we conceded within a couple of minutes knocked us. We had to chase the game and Denmark took advantage. They deserved to go through."
In qualifying for Russia next summer, Denmark are set to make their fifth appearance at the World Cup — their first since 2010.
pfd/dv (AFP, dpa, AP)