Ireland will face a play-off if they want to qualify for Euro 2020 after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Denmark in the Aviva stadium.
Matt Doherty’s header at the back post on the 85th minute to bring the Boys in Green back into the game wasn’t enough to send Mick McCarthy’s men through automatically.
Denmark opened the scoring against the run of play on the 72 minute when Martin Braithwaite’s outstretched leg connected with a Henrik Dalsgaard cross and into the net.
Ireland pushed for an equaliser and it came after the ball came wide down the left to Enda Stevens, whose cross went over the head of Shane Duffy to Doherty at the back post and he made no mistake.
Mick McCarthy started with a different shape than usual, with Alan Browne coming in for Callum Robinson on the right, to provide extra cover in the midfield and allow Matt Doherty to get forward from right-back.
The Danes - who only needed a draw to qualify - were happy to play the ball around without putting too much pressure on the Irish defence.
The first half wasn’t packed full of chances, in fact, it took 25 minutes for a shot for either side to come, Christian Eriksen’s volley from just inside the box deflected off Shane Duffy and out for a corner.
The best chance of the opening half fell to Conor Hourihane after the Denmark defence missed what looked like a stray pass from David McGoldrick , Hourihane pounced and burst into the box, but his shot was a weak one and didn’t trouble Schmeichel in goal.
Alan Browne came close minutes later with a left-footed volley that went just wide of the far post as Ireland up the pressure going into the final 10 minutes.
That would be the closest they would come though as the sides went into the break scoreless.
Ireland immediately started on the advance as they searched for the goal they needed to go through.
It almost came when a Conor Hourihane cross after a short corner went through everyone and was saved Kasper Schmeichel who didn’t seem to know much about.
In the second half, Ireland probably played some of their best football of this campaign, David McGoldrick and Matt Doherty both showing confidence to carry the ball while Hendrick gave an extra option going forward.
The job got that bit tougher on the 72 minute though as Denmark took the lead from Martin Braithwaite goal.
Henrik Dalsgaard was given too much time down the right-hand side and his cross was met by the toe of Braithwaite who had snuck in between Doherty and Duffy.
Ireland through the kitchen sink and more as they chased an equaliser that would give them some hope of qualifying.
They got their reward for some good play when Matt Doherty met Enda Stevens’ cross at the back post and headed into the net.
Again, they pushed for a winner but to no avail.
Denmark and Switzerland go through from the group, Ireland face a playoff route in the Nations League.