Ireland vs. Denmark: we need to score two goals says Republic’s Martin O’Neill
Irish midfielder David Meyler is confident his side will qualify for World Cup
Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill have warned his team they will need to score twice in tonight’s play-off against Denmark if they are to reach the 2018 World Cup finals.
The sides drew 0-0 in Copenhagen in the first leg on Saturday, but O’Neill says it will be tough to keep another clean sheet against the Danes in the second leg, in Dublin.
He told The Irish Sun: “I think we have to score a couple of goals. Holding Denmark out for two matches is going to be very difficult. We have to bear that in mind - our mindset is, one, we want to create and, two, we better score.
“The minute that the goal is scored, that eradicates a lot of things. It eradicates extra time and it eradicates penalty kicks. So we’ll want to try to score a goal. We may need a couple.
“While we know we’ve got to try and open the Danes up in some aspect, we’ll have to be very careful of the counter. We have to take our chances.”
Ireland played the first leg with a defensive mindset, and Denmark coach Age Hareide does not think O’Neill’s side will change their tactics.
“We have to take the game to Ireland,” Hareide told ESPN. “The different passes and angles, that makes us more dangerous. They just want us to make the mistake. I don’t have the patience for that.”
Meanwhile, Ireland’s David Meyler told Sky Sports that he is confident his side will secure their place at the World Cup.
He said: “I only see one outcome, I think Ireland are going to the World Cup. I don’t think anyone will stand in our way.
“They [Denmark] are a very good team, very good players, but they don’t have the character and the heart and the desire that we have.
“I believe in the manager, I believe in the players, I believe in all the backroom staff. I believe in everyone and I believe we will go to the World Cup.”
If the Danes get a score draw, they will qualify, in accordance with the away goals rule, if the tie remains 0-0, there will be extra time and the possibility of penalties.
O’Neill admits that his side have practiced penalties, but Hareide insists his side haven’t bothered. Quoted by The Guardian, Hareide said: “We won’t need them.”
How to watch Ireland vs. Denmark on TV
The World Cup play-off second leg kicks off at 7.45pm at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.