Former Denmark and Premier League legend Thomas Sorensen has outlined why he thinks Denmark will overcome Ireland to reach the 2018 World Cup.
Speaking with Sky Sports, Sorensen, who was capped 101 times by the Danes, reckons that the duo of Christian Eriksen and Kasper Schmeichel will do enough at both ends of the field to shatter the Boys in Green’s hopes of a first World Cup berth since 2002.
Eriksen has been in electrifying form for club and country as of late, gathering a reputation as one of the finest creative players in the world after scoring eight goals in qualifying as well as flourishing under Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.
Sorensen recognises that the role of national hero is one which Eriksen has had to grow into, but has no doubt that he is the man that will make the difference ahead of the crucial first-leg in Copenhagen on Saturday.
“His confidence has grown over the last couple of years. Now he’s playing at a world-class level, week in and week out, but he’s also doing it in the Danish team.
“He’s probably struggled with being branded as ‘the next Michael Laudrup’ and those things that came with it when he was younger, but he’s grown into the role and people see him for what he is – he’s comfortable with that now.
“He’s thriving, he’s scoring goals, he’s instrumental and if Denmark want to achieve something, they need him.”
The keeper – who once played under Martin O’Neill at Aston Villa, paid plenty of respect to Ireland, but feels that they lack the world-class players who can make the difference when compared to their opponents.
“I don’t think Ireland have got those players, that individual player that can do that special thing and hopefully Denmark have that and can gain that advantage.”
While on paper many see the Danes as stronger than the Irish, Sorensen should not forget the individual performances of the likes of Shane Duffy, James McClean and co. as of late.
Having achieved crucial victories over world champions Germany, Antonio Conte’s Italy and Wales in Cardiff during the Martin O’Neill era, Ireland have proven they are more than capable of rising to the occasion and stealing victory when it matters most.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena