Monday 22 October 2018

Carlsberg don't do World Cup draws . . . but Danes do pricey pints for Irish invasion

Irish fans, pictured celebrating James McClean’s winner against Wales, will hope to take in the sights of the Danish capital Photo: Sportsfile
Irish fans, pictured celebrating James McClean’s winner against Wales, will hope to take in the sights of the Danish capital Photo: Sportsfile

Ryan Nugent

Carlsberg don't do World Cup play-off draws, but if they did...well you know the rest.

Just as the nation gathers itself together following Hurricane Ophelia, Ireland's Prince in Wales, James McClean, will now be setting his sights on taking the crown from Denmark's most famous fictional son, Hamlet, and sending the Boys in Green to Russia.

It's no secret that Irish fans were praying to face the Danes over the Italians or Croatians in yesterday's draw.

But the Boys in Green are still underdogs for the clash, with Paddy Power having them in at 6/5 to qualify, compared to the Danes at 8/13.

That won't matter a jot to the thousands of deal-savvy Green Army supporters getting to work on a budgeted package for their trip to Copenhagen next month though.

However, there are some things they can't control.

The cost of pints in the Danish capital are understood to be up there with the highest in Europe, in the region of €7 each in its main tourist hotspots.

In Cardiff last week, the street was where the party was at as hundreds lined out with beers from the off-licence in surprising autumn sunshine.

Unfortunately, only the toughest of supporters hitting Copenhagen will chance their arm at attempting something similar this time around.

With temperatures in November reaching 7C at the highest, supporters may just jump at the chance of exorbitantly high prices for a bit of much-needed warmth.

And what about getting there?

Unlike the trip to Wales, it won't be as quick, simple and easy getting to Denmark and back.

Ryanair's only Friday flight sold out within hours of the draw, with their Saturday flight not doable in time for kick-off.

Last night, Scandinavian airlines was offering direct flights for in excess of €800 and that figure was rising as the day progressed.

But it's not all doom and gloom, with deals available, particularly for those who enjoy shopping around.

Flights via London and Amsterdam are significantly cheaper, with other airports in Germany and Sweden also options if you fly there and take the train.

The first leg in Denmark takes place on Saturday, November 11 at 7.45pm at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.

Although the largest stadium in the country, it only holds 38,065 fans - a bit bigger than Cardiff, but expect a major scramble for match tickets as Ireland look to qualify for their first World Cup since 2002.

The second leg of the tie will be held on Tuesday, November 14, at the Aviva Stadium, with tickets going on sale on Friday.

Reacting on RTÉ to the draw last night, FAI chief John Delaney said he expected a very excited nation come November.

"We've a big November to look forward to, two big matches and the prize of going to the World Cup, which is the biggest prize of all at stake," he said.

Ireland's heroic midfield enforcer, David Meyler, tweeted: "Bring on the Danes."

So we await the commencement of battle in less than a month's time.

Martin O'Neill and his troops will be hoping they can fend off Hamlet's poison and take the Danes back to a hostile Aviva Stadium.

Irish Independent

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