MX23RW : Sunday, February 17 18:54:33

Eriksen absence is no excuse if Denmark fail to win in Dublin, says Hareide

Eriksen absence is no excuse if Denmark fail to win in Dublin, says Hareide
© Reuters
The midfielder plundered a hat-trick when the Danes last visited Dublin.

Denmark boss Age Hareide has warned the Republic of Ireland not to be fooled by Christian Eriksen’s absence as they attempt to rekindle their Nations League campaign.

The Danes enjoyed a successful night on their last visit to Dublin in November last year when with a World Cup berth at stake, they romped to a 5-1 victory with star man Eriksen plundering a hat-trick.

They return on Saturday evening hoping to build upon last month’s opening victory over Wales, who had days earlier trounced Ireland in Cardiff, but do so without the injured Eriksen.

Hareide said: “He’s a good player, there’s no doubt about that, he’s an important player for us. But we haven’t focused that much on him being away.

“It’s important to focus on the players we have and on the team we have. We just have to try to fill that role, or play in a little bit different way without him.

“We have shown that we have a lot of good players in Denmark and the team is working for each other, know each other, so I don’t think that missing Christian will be any kind of excuse after the game.

“We just have to show ourselves and then do our best.”

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is confident his side can prosper without its talisman, but also knows Ireland will be in no mood to allow the visitors to leave victorious for a second time in 11 months.

He said: “It would be a serious mistake on our part to underestimate Ireland. They’re going to be looking for some kind of revenge.

“But we have a lot of really good players and have a lot of confidence in anybody who is going to step into the team. We are on no way complacent and we’re highly-motivated.”

Denmark will run out at the Aviva Stadium boasting an enviable record in competitive matches, aside from their World Cup exit on penalties in the last 16 at the hands of eventual beaten finalists Croatia, and topping their Nations League group is the next target.

Hareide added: “Take away the penalties against Croatia, we have 20 games unbeaten.

“If we win tomorrow, we are definitely looking to top the group, that’s for sure – but we know the difficulties. Games against Wales and Ireland will be even matches and we are aware of that.

“That’s our attitude. We know it’s going to be tough and tight, and this is also a chance for the Irish team to be a part of the race for the top, so we expect a tough game.”


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