Martin O'Neill reacts to the key fact that Ireland will be away first against Denmark

Playing away first is often regarded as an advantage in home and away ties. Could it be this time?

BY Raf Diallo 14:07 Tuesday 17 October 2017, 14:07 17 Oct 2017

Martin O'Neill Coach of Ireland celebrates during the FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifying Round Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom on October 9, 2017 (Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

The last two major tournaments Ireland have qualified for have come via the playoffs.

But while the Boys in Green were able to get past Estonia and Bosnia to get to Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 respectively, could Ireland make it three times lucky and beat Denmark over two legs to make it into a first World Cup in 16 years?

We'll know next month when we travel to Copenhagen for the first leg and then return to Dublin for the final showdown.

Speaking immediately after the draw to our own Adrian Barry, we got Martin O'Neill's reaction to drawing Denmark in the playoffs.

"We've got the second game in Dublin and we want it to mean something," said the Ireland manager, who was in Zurich for the FIFA draw.

Fernando Hierro draws the Republic of Ireland ©INPHO/Andy Mueller

"That's the most important thing. We're drawn away first of all and so from that viewpoint second game, all to play for, that's making sure that it means something. By that, I mean we have to compete strongly in the first leg, and in both matches. But first things first, the game in Denmark will be tough but I think that if you were to ask me beforehand that we'd have the second game in Dublin, I'd have taken it."

He added that, "If you were to ask most managers, most coaches, they would probably prefer to play second game at home".

While drawing Denmark, meant avoiding daunting ties against Italy and Croatia, O'Neill was quick to point what the Danes are capable of. 

"They actually beat Poland 4-0 which started a late surge for them," he said of events in Denmark's qualifying group when they thrashed the team would go on to qualify directly for Russia 2018.

"They've got some excellent players. We know Christian Eriksen, who's been playing magnificently for both club and country. He's come up with some very important goals and playing splendidly for Tottenham Hotspur. And they have a number of players all around the pitch who will be very dangerous. It is up to us but we've given ourselves this opportunity and let us go for it."  


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