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Jun 7, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
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Mick McCarthy: 'I would be thrilled with a draw against Denmark'

Mick McCarthy: 'I would be thrilled with a draw against Denmark'
© Reuters
The game will be the fifth time the sides have met inside a little more than 18 months.

Mick McCarthy is hoping the Republic of Ireland live up to the label of Denmark's "most annoying" opponent in Copenhagen on Friday night.

Danish midfielder Thomas Delaney, who described playing against Ireland in a World Cup play-off stalemate at the Telia Parken Stadium in 2017 as "like trying to open a can of baked beans with your bare hands", issued the back-handed compliment as he assessed the fifth meeting between the sides in 18 months in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

McCarthy said: "I doubt it was a compliment that, was it? Was it said in a derogatory way or a complimentary way?

Denmark's Thomas Delaney admits the Republic of Ireland have proved a tough nut to crack in recent times
Denmark's Thomas Delaney admits the Republic of Ireland have proved a tough nut to crack in recent times (Niall Carson/PA)

"Oh well, that's kind of him then, and I hope we are as annoying to him tomorrow night as well."

Delaney's frustration with Ireland is perhaps well-founded. Three of the four most recent meetings have ended 0-0 with the Danes' 5-1 victory in Dublin in November 2017 in stark contrast to the other games.

However, all four were played under previous manager Martin O'Neill and while McCarthy freely admits he would have stayed at home if he had been offered a point in advance, he insists his team will try to win the latest encounter ahead of Monday night's visit of Gibraltar.

He said: "I'd be thrilled with a draw. If I'd been offered a draw, I wouldn't have got on the plane. I'd have stayed at home, took the point and played against Gibraltar.

"That doesn't mean to say we're coming here just to sit back and try to get a draw, we're coming here to try to win game and we'll approach it in a very attacking, aggressive way."

Ireland opened their campaign in March with back-to-back victories over Gibraltar and Georgia, but McCarthy is well aware that Denmark represent a very different proposition.

Asked if he felt Age Hareide's side has an "evil spirit", he replied with a smile: "No I don't, I just see them as a very good football team with some good players – and they've got one real star, certainly, in [Christian] Eriksen who would grace most teams around the world.

"But it would be remiss of me to put it on him because they have got some very good players as well and they're effective.

"Age Hareide has been here for a while now. They've lost one competitive game, I believe, and they have a really good way of playing – and when they haven't got ball, they're as solid as pretty much most teams I've seen. So not an evil spirit, just a good team."

Given their recent record, there is perhaps more pressure on Denmark to get a result than on Ireland, and McCarthy will be happy if that has an effect on them.

He said: "The pressure is on both of us, isn't it? But it's their home game, so there's a weight of expectation.

"The expectancy for a country of five million people, they expect to be qualifying for World Cups and European Championships and looking to win them, so there's an expectancy there and if that adds a bit of pressure, then great."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States25292276
Great BritainGreat Britain14181547
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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