Euro 2020 Qualifiers: All is not lost for Mick McCarthy’s Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland loses automatic qualification tickets to Euro 2020 after a 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium against Denmark, which also validates the Danes’ journey to the tournament next year.
Switzerland also booked a ticket to Euro 2020 after securing a 6-1 victory over Gibraltar, which topped Group A.
Mick McCarthy’s men still have a chance to play in the Euro at home after Dublin becomes one of the 12 cities to host the match but will have to face two playoffs next March. He is confident that Ireland will pull through if they play as they did in their final Group D fixture.
“I have three months to prepare for that. We’ll see who we get and I’ll plan for it when we get it. If we play the way we are playing and play as well as that against other teams, we can beat them,” he said.
Denmark's Martin Braithwaite's goal 17 minutes before the end of the game, stabbing in a pass from Henrik Dalsgaard. Mick McCarthy's side fought back in what was arguably their best performance of the campaign. Matt Doherty found his first goal in international competition but it was too late for the Irish who mounted a late onslaught but just couldn’t make the pressure count.
"Overall I am very pleased with the performances of the players and am very proud of them, especially after leaving, to revive their spirit," McCarthy said. "Playing like this in the playoffs, we can beat anyone."
McCarthy added that he is proud of his players for they have given it all, even more so when they were 1-0 down.
“But it was a poor goal to give away. Doc (Doherty) says it was his man, it was on him, but he has scored the equaliser, so I will forgive him slightly.
Playing at home, Ireland was trying to avenge a 5-1 defeat to Denmark two years ago that led them to miss the 2018 World Cup. However, out of the six meetings between the two teams over the last two years, Ireland has only scored three goals and a string of poor finishing has left them devastated.
"You have to score a goal to win the game and we don't score enough," Doherty said. "It's a tough group, we're dealing with it and we need to make sure we're ready for March," he said.
Ireland will know their opponent in the semi-finals soon, with Slovakia or Wales the most likely hurdle.
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