Didi Hamann immediately pours cold water on Irish optimism 8 months ago

Didi Hamann immediately pours cold water on Irish optimism

 Man of steel Shane Duffy put in a performance for the ages in Telia Parken to help rescue a 1-1 draw for the Republic of Ireland against Denmark.

It wasn't quite Richard Dunne against Russia but it was still inspirational from the Derryman. No more than five minutes in had he a Danish attacker wincing on the floor and holding his back. Duffy had all eyes on the ball. He came out with ball and man.

Mick McCarthy's side played some very encouraging football in that first 20 minutes. Seamus Coleman for the first time in a long time in an Ireland jersey looked fit, free and sprightly and he galloped down the wing like it was 2016 again. Enda Stevens was sharp and steady while David McGoldrick did a few good things. Everything for once looked okay in the Irish football.

That was as about as good as it would get though.

Because as soon as Christian Eriksen decided he wanted to join the contest we were in big bother. Then Yussuf Poulsen followed in hot pursuit and we were on thin ice.

It was time to roll up the sleeves.

It was no place for small men. Thankfully, Ireland had a pair of big ones at the back. Richard Keogh stood tall, the Derby county defender getting in a number of clearing headers. Enda Stevens nibbled away at them too.

Then there was Shane Duffy.

That human rebounder from Derry threw himself into the right place at the absolutely critical time and he made two lifesaving blocks to keep his country in the game for a second half.

At least we had something to play for.

The Danes kept hammering away. They're a better footballing team than us, make no bones about it but at least the lads battled. Conor Hourihane's luscious deliveries meant we always had some hope anyway.

Then Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg got in for a header that was a long time coming on 76 minutes, beating Richard Keogh to the ball.

Thank God for Shane Duffy.

Despite the optimism surrounding the performance, Didi Hamann was in no way blown away in the RTÉ studios.

"On tonight's showing, I struggle to find any positives bar the result," he said.

"Denmark should have been three or four up before Duffy scored. Collectively we picked Duffy as man of the match before he scored. You've got a centre back who's man of the match even though they had five, six, seven clear-cut chances. That shows things haven't been right today.

"They've been chasing the game for 90 minutes. When you're chasing the game, nobody's showing for the ball. This is what happened tonight. I was disappointed out of possession because I don't think they were smart enough or organised enough tonight..."

"They had a lot of blocks, the centre halves did tremendously well but the worst thing we can do now is say 'oh we have character, we have resilience.' They will need to be better than tonight."