Denmark v Republic of Ireland
McCarthy takes baton for new Danish mission
For the supporters of Denmark and Ireland, there’s a feeling of deja vu around Friday’s clash in Copenhagen.
It’s the fifth meeting between the nations in the space of 19 months dating back to the World Cup playoff in November 2017.
That ended painfully for Ireland, and it ultimately spelled the end for Martin O’Neill who never really recovered from the 5-1 second leg thrashing.
As it happens, the scoreless draw in November’s UEFA Nations League clash between the sides turned out to be his final game in charge.
The FAI had actually made the decision to change manager before that game. Mick McCarthy was duly appointed ahead of a qualifying draw that put the two sides into the same group again – and this game will have a big say in the race for Euro 2020 qualification.
Irish football is in crisis at the moment due to off the pitch administrative difficulties, but the senior team did lift spirits with a pair of victories against Gibraltar and Georgia in March.
The performance against Georgia was impressive and McCarthy has indicated that he may go with the same team in Denmark. This is a different level of challenge, however.
Eriksen angle dominates in Denmark
The build-up to this game in Denmark has been completely overshadowed by a press conference given by star player Christian Eriksen on Wednesday.
In the aftermath of Spurs’ Champions League final defeat to Liverpool, the playmaker indicated that he is looking to leave the London club. He wasn’t asked a single question about the match because of the interest created by his comments.
That would suggest that it’s a bit of a distraction. Eriksen naturally joined up late because of his involvement in Madrid.
Ireland have spent the guts of three weeks together although there were delayed arrivals due to Championship playoff final commitments.
Glenn Whelan and Conor Hourihane were involved with Aston Villa, while Richard Keogh was on the losing Derby County team.
Whelan has since been released by Villa but he will have a key role to play here as a sitting midfielder with Hourihane and Jeff Hendrick positioned ahead of him.
Naturally, keeping an eye on Eriksen will be central to their brief.
Denmark are clear favourites for this match which is understandable given their record under Age Hareide. That said, they showed some vulnerability in March’s 3-3 draw with Switzerland where they fell three behind before staging a miraculous late comeback.
If you take the 5-1 out of the equation, the three other meetings between these sides in recent memory have finished in scoreless draws.
While Ireland are likely to be more positive under McCarthy, he has still indicated that he would be happy with a point and the gameplan is likely to ensure they are well drilled.
In that context, the [1.61] about a Danish victory does not appeal as a trading proposition and a lay is the recommended bet here.
There would be trading potential at that price even if there’s a belief that the Danes will get on top eventually. But there have been encouraging signs under McCarthy and this team have a track record of digging a result out on their travels. They can keep that run going here.
Low scoring affair the percentage call
June internationals can be a slow burn with the quality of the European club finals showing what can happen when teams slip out of season.
Add that to the history of low scoring encounters between these familiar opponents and the [2.7]about Under 1.5 Goals is worth a play Ireland kept clean sheets in both of their March victories, admittedly against lower quality opponents
In the search for a play on the likely scenario at greater odds – then the [4.3] about a Draw/Draw in the Half-Time/Full-Time Market is also worth a speculative play.