Martin O'Neil and his team took an early 6 minute lead through Shane Duffy, and then a double blow from the attacking Danes, and with an unstoppable Christian Erikson hat-trick it was all over 5-1 after a 0-0 first leg tie at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.A Cyrus Christie o.g after 29 minutes followed by Erikson's first goal 3 minutes later knocked the stuffing out of the home fans and players. Before the bitter end the home fans were leaving in their droves to catch the DART rail next door the 3 stops to the city centre and a supper of fish & chips or just a pint of Guinness. The Danish Dynamite fans were still singing and chanting, ready for a trip to Russia for the finals after a late night celebrations in Temple Bar.
It could be much worse. O'Neill has kept his head and is about to sign a new deal. Pity Brian Boru, King of Ireland who had his head sliced open by the Danes at the Battle of Clontarf, by the Irish Sea in 1014 AD. He had already said 150 psalms and written his will and who was to get his 240 cows.
So, there will be no Boys in Green from the north or south of Ireland at next summers finals. The best international match they can expect is the the League of Ireland, which is a summer league, between Derry City, which is actually in Northern Ireland and Dundalk of the Republic.
Meanwhile at ANZ Stadium Australia in front of 76,000 fans in Sydney NSW, the Socceroos are in party mood with the help of a hat-trick from Mile Jedinak . The Aston Villa striker will take the gold and green to the Promised Land for the fourth Finals in a row after 0-0 in San Pedro Sula in the first leg in Honduras. 3-1 is the final score with a late goal from Maynor Figueroa of FC Dallas. FFA had spent AUS$ 1 million for a private jet to return the squad home 24 hours before Honduras arrived for the return leg.
One more play-off to go in Lima, Peru later today with 0-0 in Wellington in the first leg. The All Whites had to land in Chile and a 3 hour delay before arriving in Lima. Outside Estadio Nacional some chamans with a snake were chanting and offering help to Los Blanquirroja(red and whites). Many years ago I was at a match there when there was a series of 'bangs' and everybody hit the deck, fearing a terrorist attack. However it was just a floodlit failure.
The two legged play-off in Zagreb and Athens was decided in the first leg in Croatia with a 4-1 win and 0-0 in Greece. Both federations decided that no visiting fans would be allowed at the away legs to prevent any violence.