Ireland ended their UEFA Nations League campaign with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Denmark in Aarhus on Monday evening.
O’Neill’s side were truly outclassed by an almost second string Danish side who dominated possession and the share of the chances despite being unable to break down the dogged Irish defence.
Ireland created little or nothing as they limped to only their second point from four games in the group, finishing their Nations League campaign with a whimper.
Let’s take a look at 12 quickfire conclusions as Ireland fail to impress against Denmark.
1) It’s difficult to believe that these two teams are in the same group such was the gulf in class between the two sides. Even without key players like Schmeichel and Delaney, the Danes looked like a confident and vibrant side.
2) Ireland defended well at times but it was tough to watch O’Neill’s side chase shadows around the Aarhus pitch while Denmark passed the ball around freely.
3) Despite Martin O’Neill still believing otherwise, Cyrus Christie is not a midfielder.
4) On the contrary Christian Eriksen most certainly is, and he is one of the best in Europe. Ireland made it easy for him, however, affording the Tottenham man far too much space when he got on the ball. It was almost an embarrassment when Denmark took him off at half-time.
5) Regardless of who O’Neill plays in that central striker role, one up front simply is not working in this five at the back formation. The lone striker is so often isolated and rarely receives support from the midfield.
6) Speaking of the Irish midfield it was very poor again. The likes of O’Dowda and Hendrick both struggled again and look lost in this side. The defence looked solid but when the ball found its way into the middle that’s when the struggles began.
7) O’Neill’s obsession with playing players out of position is fascinating at this stage. Maybe someone should do a study on the psychology behind it as it seems baffling to most. O’Dowda, Brady, Christie. A strange way of going about things.
8) For the second game in a row, Darren Randolph can hold his head high. A good display between the sticks from the Middlesbrough man.
9) Even when Ireland brought on the usually so vibrant and dynamic duo of Callum Robinson and Ronan Curtis, their inability to get a hold of the ball in the midfield area and create meant that neither could truly influence the game.
10) Although he came on late and in a difficult game, it was excellent to see Michael Obafemi out on the pitch in an Irish shirt.
11) Difficult to find positives for Ireland but another clean sheet is never a bad thing.
12) Something really has to change for Ireland as they close out their disappointing Nations League campaign without a victory. Whether it’s a change of manager or a change of system or both, it simply cannot continue like this.