Humiliating defeat ends Ireland’s World Cup dream

Despite Shane Duffy scoring the opening goal of the game, it is Denmark and not the Republic of Ireland who will be at the World Cup in Russia, following a deserved win in Dublin on Tuesday night.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen masterminded the Danes to the win, scoring a hat-trick which contained two exquisite goals in the process.

A poor attempt at a clearance by Nicolai Jorgensen in the sixth minute gave Duffy a free header from six yards out to put Ireland ahead.

Darren Randolph made two excellent saves in the 17th and 19th minutes to deny William Kvist and Pione Sisto respectively.

Denmark drew level in the 29th minute. An Eriksen corner from the left side was not defended properly and although Andreas Christening was credited with the goal, defender Cyrus Christie put the ball into the net as he tried to clear it.

Eriksen hit his first goal in the 32nd minute. Stephen Ward lost possession on the halfway line. Denmark quickly worked the ball to the edge of the Ireland box for Eriksen to steer a superb shot beyond the keeper.

At the break, Arter and Meyler were replaced by McGeady and Hoolahan.

In the 63rd minute, Eriksen scored his second goal, as he curled a sweet left foot shot beyond the full stretch dive of Darren Randolph.

The Eriksen hat-trick came in the 73rd minute to make it 4-1 to the Danes.

Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner converted a penalty in the 90th minute for the fifth goal.

What brought began with such hope ended in farce as the Danes coasted to the win.

The postmortem into the defeat is sure to begin with the end of a number of international careers.