The players from Denmark are relieved and proud after securing a ticket for the European Championship 2020. The team of national coach Age Hareide played below par with Ireland on Monday, but the 1-1 draw was enough for the second place in the group.
"We were terribly bad," relieved a relieved goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after the game in Dublin. "We didn't hit a ball and had to fall back on our mentality and determination while we were under great pressure. I don't know what went wrong, but I don't care anymore."
Denmark took the lead in the Aviva Stadium in the 73rd minute, but the equalizer five minutes before the end resulted in an exciting final phase. The Danes, with former Eredivisie players Mathias Jørgensen, Lasse Schöne and Christian Eriksen in the base and Kasper Dolberg as substitute, did hold out.
"This means a lot to us," said Schmeichel, who particularly likes the fact that the Danes will play the group matches at the European Championship in their own Copenhagen. "We are a small country and the chances of playing home games at a major tournament are minimal. It's great and unique that we have been able to give our fans."
Midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg underlines the euphoria of the Danish players. "I am a bit speechless. We have listed a few goals for the season and this was definitely the most important of all goals. I am just very proud."
The euphoria was great with Denmark. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"May happiness speak with a tie"
National coach Hareide particularly enjoyed the atmosphere in Dublin and, like Schmeichel, was absolutely not to be pleased with the game of the Danes. "The songs from the stands and the atmosphere in the stadium make it fantastic to play here. I really feel at home in Dublin."
"We can speak of luck with a draw," Hareide admitted. "Ireland put us under good pressure and was the better team, while we failed to become dangerous in the switch. If Ireland also plays in the play-offs, they will reach the European Championship."
It is the ninth time that Denmark can participate in the European Championship, after the European champion of 1992 missed the tournament in France just like the Netherlands over three years ago. Denmark reached the eighth finals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Irish came in third place in qualifying group D due to the Monday night draw - Switzerland became the group winner - and have to qualify for the European Championship via the play-offs. The team of coach Mick McCarthy managed to qualify the last two editions.
See also: These countries have qualified for the European Championship 2020