Last Updated: 14/11/17 11:04pm
Martin O’Neill admitted that Denmark were the better team on the night and deserved to progress to the World Cup at the expense of Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill said his side were “well beaten” by Denmark in their World Cup play-off.
A Christian Eriksen hat-trick was key to Denmark defeating the Republic of Ireland 5-1 in Dublin on Tuesday night, despite Shane Duffy giving the hosts an early lead.
O’Neill says his side should have built on their opener, but could not double their advantage despite good chances.
“Eventually [we were] well beaten,” O’Neill said. “We got the early goal, we had a couple chances to make it 2-0, especially the one with James (McClean) where it went just past the post. Then we conceded two goals quickly after that and then it’s an uphill struggle.
“Denmark were stronger, they were better than us on the evening and well done to them.”
After Denmark got their first through a Cyrus Christie own goal, there was no stopping them as they cruised to victory at the Aviva Stadium.
Christian Eriksen scored a hat-trick
O’Neill had faced calls to be more expansive going into the game following a goalless draw in Copenhagen on Saturday, but quickly faced criticism after the defeat in Dublin for lacking caution, as Eriksen struck three goals and Nicklas Bendtner finished off the scoring from the spot late on.
He said: “We’ve lost the game, once we’ve lost the game, I’ll have to go have a look at it. When you lose football matches you usually get it wrong.”
Despite the defeat on Tuesday night, many will eventually reflect on the positive nature of the qualifying campaign which saw them finish second in a group they were seeded fourth in, getting the better of Austria and Wales to make it to the play-offs.
O’Neill said: “The group have shown great determination, a great old spirit, this is the play-offs, this isn’t the first match of a tournament, we’ve got to the play-off here in this competition.
“We’re in this stage here and we thought we could win this game, but we didn’t win the game, we were well beaten in the end and we have to take this punishment.”