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10th Nov 2017

Christian Eriksen isn’t expecting too much from Ireland anyway

Conan Doherty

Christian Eriksen and Kasper Schmeichel sat next to their Norwegian manager Åge Hareide on Friday afternoon at Telia Parken and they presented a steel front.

As eery darkness fell prematurely over mid-afternoon in Copenhagen, the Danish internationals were almost at one with their surroundings. Calm. Cold.

There was just an aura of business about them, as if talking about the game was a waste of everybody’s time and talking about Ireland was distracting from what their plan is.

You see, they don’t really think the Irish are coming with any big plans, but for survival. They think Martin O’Neill and his men will be happy to get out of this first leg unscathed and go back to Dublin with a draw knowing what they have to. It’s a pretty decent guess, in fairness.

So that doesn’t affect Denmark’s plans but to plough on.

But whilst the manager lightened the mood every so often, two of the country’s icons sat next to him with eyes ahead. Stone-faced.

It painted a pretty powerful picture but it also added illustration to the words that the Danes already know what Ireland are all about.

“If you have a team that wants to play and a team that doesn’t want to play, then the game will be dragged out,” Eriksen said, almost preparing himself mentally for that battle – the same battle everyone expects with Irish. Physical. Dogged. Spirited.

“For them, 0-0 is probably a good result whereas we want to score goals and create chances.

“They will play the way they have in previous games, with a lot of people behind the ball so we’ll have to play quick and open up the game.

“We’ll probably get fewer chances than we have in some of our other games but we’ll look to create as many as we can.”

He’s got an idea of how he thinks this game is going to pan out anyway. You might call it disrespectful but… well, he’s probably just being accurate.

He knows what to expect but here’s the thing, they all think they do. And, for whatever reason, they can never rise to it. Not as much as the Irish.

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