World Cup Playoff Second Leg Preview
Date: Tuesday, 14th November 2017
Location: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick off: 20:45 (CET)
After a grueling first leg for Denmark at home which ended 0-0, it has set the second leg up for an explosive encounter in Dublin, where it could go either way.
The result Ireland got in Denmark will be considered, by most, a positive one and means the Irish will now go into the second leg favorites at home. Manager, Martin O’Neill, is a specialist in the type of game he will face in the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday, so you can expect more of the same of what we saw against Wales in their final group game to get them to this stage, as well as into Euro 2016.
Although they did what they set out to do, playing defensively and not going back to Dublin behind, they could have done with an away goal, as qualification is on a knife’s edge as they are now in a must win game.
In theory, the Danes will need just one goal to get through, but this said, after failing that same feat at home and having to play the way the Irish intended, it doesn’t seen as plausible, especially against a Irish team that are veterans in playoff matches and with a home crowd backing them, but it certainly isn’t out of the question either.
In the first leg, despite a stronger strike-force, the Irish didn’t give them an inch in their third of the pitch and although they got off a good 14 shots, they never had much room to maneuver and other than a few chances early on they never looked a real threat, despite the large words from some players in the Danish camp before Saturdays match.
However, if Denmark weren’t a threat, then the Irish were non-existent going forward and barely carved a chance, which won’t be enough in the second leg. This said, this wasn’t O’Neil’s tactics and he has merely set them up for game at home.
Another crucial thing they achieved here was that none of their eight players who started the game on verge of suspension picked up a card and so will be appearing in the second leg too. Which no doubt, was also part of the Irish plan, and the approach of clearing any danger over taking players head-on should pay off in the second leg.
The main issue is for the Irish is they may end up ruing that they missed opportunity to nick an away goal if the Danes get an early lead, as they will have to come out more in this leg which may allow the Denmark forwards to make more decisive moves going forward. As such, it is too much to say the game is already won for Ireland, as there is still a long way to go, especially if the Danish catch them by surprise with an early away goal.
This said, Ireland played the way they intended in the first leg and although they didn’t make any chances for themselves, the Danes will now be going into this second leg with two things on their mind. First, they are playing away against a fierce Irish crowd and second, they know that Ireland commanded their play in the first match.
Neither team will be overly confident, that is for sure, but unless the Danes get a goal early on, Martin O’Neil’s tactics and a passionate and organised Irish side should see them edge this second leg and get them their first World Cup in 14 years.