Saturday 23rd September
Ireland drew 0-0 with Denmark today in 30 degrees on a pitch that did not allow for either team to play any type of football.
The first game in a four team group is always a challenging one and is important that you do not lose. With Denmark and Ireland regarded as the two top teams it was doubly important that Ireland did not lose.
Ireland started nervously and the Irish goal led a charmed life with Kieron Thorpe being kept very busy. Kieron showed with one or two fine saves that it would take something special to beat him.
David Joyce and Laurence Gaughan showed that this was their first game together as hesitancy was the order of the day.
However as the game wore on they both got stronger and stronger and Gaughan in his first International showed that he would be an addition to the squad.
Irelands best chance of the first half arrived when Kurtis Byrne made headway down after 20 minutes the wing and his cut back caught the Danish defence at sixes and sevens but unfortunately no Irish forward was able to get on the end of his cross and the chance was wasted.
Ireland had a lucky escape after 33 minutes when the Danish centre forward headed against the crossbar. The ball beat Kieron Thorpe but came down off the crossbar and Thorpe turning quickly saved the day
Sean Scannell had Ireland’s only other chance of the first half when a good move involving Ian Daly and Kurtis Byrne ended up with Scannell shooting timidly to the Danish keeper.
The second half saw Ireland improve considerably from the first half and with few chances the second half lacked any excitement.
Ireland were much better in closing down the opposition particularly around the middle of the park which stifled the Danish midfield and resulted in neither side creating a lot of chances.
Sean Mc Caffrey although disappointed with the outcome praised his players “it was very difficult out there between the pitch and the heat I thought we did well. It is wrong that players are asked to play on such conditions. We practised our passing when in Hungary and we spend a lot of time encouraging players to pass then when you come out here you are asking them to put the ball in behind the full backs and we discouraged them to play football – That’s not right”
Ireland’s next match is on Monday against Azerbaijan ho defeated Latvia 2-1 leaving the group wide open.
Ireland:Thorpe, Matthews, Joyce Capt Gaughan, Moyles, Byrne, Mc Cormack,O Brien, O’Connor, Daly, Scanlon
Subs: Marshall for O’Connor 68 mins, M Collins for Scannell 75 mins