The Republic Of Ireland came up well short against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night with a spot at next summer’s World Cup in Russia on the line.
It was a disastrous night all round for the Boys In Green and their band of followers. Crashing 5-1 to the Danes, having taken an early lead through a Shane Duffy header will live long in the memories of the players and fans for all the wrong reasons.
The most disappointing aspect of the loss was the manner in which the Irish team capitulated in the second half. A late penalty scored by cult hero Nicklas Bendtner rubs salt on to the wounds which were inflicted by a Christian Eriksen masterclass. The Spurs maestro showed why so much of the pre-game hype was surrounding him with a stunning hat-trick.
For Ireland, one would be hard pressed to pick out a positive performance from anyone on the pitch.
Martin O’Neill decided to replace two central midfielders, David Meyler and Harry Arter, with a pair of attacking threats, Wes Holohan and Aiden McGeady, at half-time with the side trailing 2-1. This was always going to be a big gamble, sacrificing more space for the creative Eriksen and co in the middle of the park in order to chase the game in desperate need of goals.
Ultimately it was a gamble that backfired massively.
This, amongst other decisions and his whole approach to management of the national side has been brought into question by Eamon Dunphy on the RTÉ panel following the humiliating defeat. While Liam Brady disagreed with the argument that the full blame must fall at the feet of O’Neill, there was no escaping the fact that Dunphy did indeed make some valid point around the lacklustre setting up of the team on Tuesday night.
See what the outspoken pundit had to say in the clip below: