The second Mick McCarthy era continues tonight as Ireland face Denmark in Copenhagen. Ireland have gotten of to a good start all things considered with two 1-0 wins. While the Gibraltar performance was underwhelming to say the least, we did show promise against Georgia. Denmark will be a much tougher test however, and some of their players have been very vocal about us. Huddersfield center back Jorgensen said he ‘knows what to expect ‘ with Ireland while Thomas Delaney described us as ‘annoying’. With those comments in mind,victory will be all the sweeter tonight should we manage it.
It’s hard to see Mick changing the team too much.One of the questions on many peoples minds will be if Matt Doherty starts and if so in what position. Seamus Coleman is a stalwart at right back so it’s likely that he’ll have to play in an unnatural position. There’s also the question of who we start up front with David Mcgoldrick enjoying a fantastic season with Sheffield Utd, who secured promotion to the premier league while Shane Long had an impressive end to the season with Southampton.
What’s more interesting though, in my view is how we’ll approach the game. We’ve been heavily criticised in the past for playing negative football, particularly in our games against Denmark. Against Georgia we showed a more outgoing side and kept the ball quite well. Will Mick be more conservative against a better team? We’ll just have to wait and see. I’d like to us at least attempt to keep the ball better rather than hoofing it long and giving the ball straight back to the Danes like we did in our previous fixtures against them. Denmark are a decent team but that’s about it. Decent just about sums them up. We shouldn’t go there like their the Gods of football and bow to their greatness. They’re workmanlike and rely heavily on Christian Eriksen for a creative spark. Beyond him, there’s a dearth of top quality players and I really think we’ve got a chance if we go at them tonight.
Gibraltar should be a much more straightforward affair and it’s likely that Mick will experiment with the squad a bit and change things up. It’s really important that we see an improvement on our performance away from home against them and you’d think that this game would be a chance to boost the goal difference a bit. 6 points out of 6 would make it a dream start for McCarthy and would put Ireland in a great position to qualify for the European Championship next summer. Realistically though, four points would represent a decent international period and I think most of us would probably settle for that. A more proactive performance against Denmark would seriously be welcome though.
The under-21 side also deserve a shout out for their performances in the Toulon tournament so far with a 4-1 win over China and a 0-0 draw with Mexico putting us in a good position to qualify from the group. The future looks bright and hopefully the youngsters can go all the way.