Eamonn Sweeney - Denmark are no great shakes either
Hold The Back Page
Ireland drawing Denmark in the World Cup play-offs has at least given us the chance to do some boasting. Now that we're bound for Copenhagen we can say it wouldn't have made any difference who we drew, that we wouldn't have feared anyone and that everyone would have been hoping not to draw Ireland.
But the truth is that when the choices were narrowed down to Italy and Denmark, we were mightily pleased to get the Scandinavians. In all honesty there's no denying they represent the very best option for us. They are a team on our own level, a team we have every chance of beating. We were damn lucky to get them.
Yet this stroke of fortune brings pressures of its own. Had we drawn Italy Ireland would have had nothing to lose. The argument would be that we were already in bonus territory and couldn't be expected to beat the Italians. A gallant defeat like the one we suffered against France in the European Championships would have sufficed to prevent any loss of caste.