Republic of Ireland 0 Denmark 0: Eriksen sorely missed in bore draw

Denmark dominated their Nations League meeting with struggling Republic of Ireland but missed Christian Eriksen's cutting edge.

Henrik Dalsgaard and James McClean battle in the Nations League.   -  Getty Images

Republic of Ireland could not avenge their World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark as they were held to a goalless draw by a visiting side missing Christian Eriksen in Dublin.

Hat-trick hero Eriksen extinguished Ireland's qualifying hopes in a 5-1 away win last November, but the Tottenham midfielder was not fit to feature in Saturday's rematch in the Nations League.

However, rather than opening the door for Ireland to record a much-needed victory, Eriksen's absence merely sapped the quality from the contest as both outfits struggled to offer anything in the final third.

Denmark at least know Eriksen's return should ensure improvement from this dour display, but there were few positives for Martin O'Neill and Ireland to take forward.

The first of very few first-half flashpoints came five minutes in when Denmark stopped play for the injured Harry Arter but Jeff Hendrick capitalised to run clear, wastefully shooting wide to the relief of the furious visiting players.

Darren Randolph smothered from Thomas Delaney at the other end, before Pione Sisto whipped a low drive against the right-hand post just seconds before the break.

There was no change to the pattern of play following the restart as Denmark kept possession at a near-silent Aviva Stadium, with Simon Kjaer denied the opening goal as Arter hacked his header away from the goal line.

Kasper Schmeichel comfortably dealt with Cyrus Christie's drive after a rare Ireland break and there would be no late sucker punch for the dominant Danes as they eased through the closing stages.

What it means: Relegation looms for Ireland

O'Neill's men must surely win their next fixture against Wales to retain any hope of remaining in League B, but this performance provided little encouragement ahead of that clash. With Eriksen out, Ireland will have no better opportunity to beat an otherwise ordinary Denmark outfit. That never looked likely.

Wales the big winners

Few neutrals could enjoy this dull contest, but Ryan Giggs may well have. The Wales boss would see both group rivals drop points while there was plenty of food for thought ahead of facing Ireland. Despite defeat in Denmark, Giggs' side have the opportunity to win the group and will surely target victory against the Irish.

Fulham man fails midfield audition

Christie is no central midfielder, but he was given the opportunity to stake a claim there on Saturday. With Matt Doherty flying for Wolves - and Christie poor for Fulham - O'Neill may have a new deputy for regular right-back Seamus Coleman. Christie, instead playing in the middle of the pitch, looked completely out of his depth.

Key stats

- Republic of Ireland have now kept four clean sheets in their last five meetings with Denmark (W2 D2 L1), losing 5-1 in the other in November 2017.
- This was the first time that Ireland have ever failed to score in a home match against Denmark in the ninth such encounter.
- Ireland are winless in their last seven competitive meetings with Denmark (D4 L3) since a 2-0 win in a Euro 1980 qualifier in May 1979.
- Four of Denmark’s last 10 matches in all competitions have finished as goalless stalemates, and four of their last six have been draws (two 0-0, two 1-1).
- Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has kept a clean sheet in eight of his last 10 appearances for the national team.

What's next?

Ireland will have another opportunity to respond to a humbling defeat on Tuesday when they host Wales, 4-1 winners in their Nations League opener last month. Denmark have a friendly against Austria on the same day.

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