Denmark vs Ireland: 5 talking points
Ireland held Denmark to a goalless draw in the first leg of their World Cup Qualifying Playoff
Denmark and Ireland played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their 2018 World Cup Qualifying Playoff in Copenhagen on Saturday evening.
Hosts, Denmark, were the better side throughout the game and dominated possession but they were unable to break down a stubborn Irish side who will now return to Dublin for the second leg knowing that a win in front of their home fans will be enough to secure qualification to the World Cup for the first time since 2002.
Denmark had the majority of the games best chances but a mixture of good goalkeeping and poor finishing saw the Irish keep an important clean sheet despite never really looking like getting the away goal.
The teams will now take the next few days to assess the game before preparing to do it all again on Tuesday night where one of the sides will secure passage to next summers Finals in Russia.
However, before we get to the game on Tuesday night here are the key takeaways from the first leg:
#5 Danes fail to make home advantage count
Denmark were unable take advantage of playing the first leg in front of their home fans at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen. In these two-legged playoffs, it's important to try to get something to hold onto when you play at home first but the Danes were unable to get a goal against Ireland.
Denmark had the lions share of possession and also had the better chances but it wasn't enough as Ireland were able to keep a clean sheet. Denmark had at least three really good chances to open the scoring but on two occasions Ireland's goalkeeper, Darren Randolph was on hand to make saves and the other missed the target.
The first Danish chance was a double one. Randolph made a decent save from a Jens Stryger Larsen shot but he could only parry it to Andreas Cornelius who seemed sure to score but Randolph got back up in time and across his goal to deny the Dane.
Later on in the first half, Denmark had another double chance when Randolph was unable to hold onto a Christian Eriksen shot but Pione Sisto's placed shot was unable to find the bottom corner and the Irish survived again.
In the dying minutes, it was Yussuf Poulsen's turn to have a chance but his header was turned over the bar by the Irish goalkeeper to ensure they kept a clean sheet and now go to Dublin as favourites to progress.