Sunday 25 August 2019

Denmark boss Age Hareide not expecting penalties against Republic of Ireland

Denmark manager Age Hareide is confident of World Cup play-off success in Ireland
Denmark manager Age Hareide is confident of World Cup play-off success in Ireland

Denmark manager Age Hareide has not made his players rehearse penalties ahead of their World Cup showdown with the Republic of Ireland - because he does not believe they will need them.

Hareide saw enough in Saturday night's 0-0 first leg play-off draw in Copenhagen to be confident the Danes will take care of business at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday evening without the need for a shootout.

Asked if that was because he was superstitious or confident of victory before it gets to that stage, he replied: "Both. I'm always superstitious - and we don't need them."

Hareide's comments came as he held his pre-match press conference in Dublin on Monday evening ahead of an eagerly-anticipated encounter.

He also delivered a stark warning to Ireland midfielder David Meyler - who captained his country to victories over Moldova and Wales last month, but was suspended for the first leg - after learning he had backed Irish passion to get the better of Danish craft.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Meyler said: "I only see one outcome, I think Ireland are going to the World Cup. I don't think anyone will stand in our way.

"They are a very good team, very good players, but they don't have the character and the heart and the desire that we have."

Hareide's response was dismissive.

The Norwegian said: "My thought is that he doesn't know the players. A quote like that, then he doesn't know the players.

"At the beginning when we started, I didn't even know the players myself, but after working with them up to this game, I know them.

"Most of our players are spread out in the whole of Europe, some with great experience and they don't get that far if they don't have the heart and the brains to play football.

"It's not only about winning duels and fighting, it's about skill and also to adapt to different cultures. We have a strong team now and hopefully we will show that tomorrow."

The Denmark coach remains confident of progression despite the stalemate at the Parken Stadium, where Ireland produced yet another stubborn display to keep their hopes of making it to Russia alive.

Martin O'Neill's team have to score if they are to progress without the need for penalties, but asked if he is expecting a more expansive approach, Hareide said: "If you look at the stats from qualification, nothing seems to go in that direction.

"They played better away from home than at home and scored more goals away from home. I think they'll play in the same way.

"I don't expect them to go higher than they did in Copenhagen, they just want us to make a mistake. That's okay.

"I haven't got the patience to play like that. We will try to attack Ireland and try to get a goal, and then we'll take it from there.

"We had the possibility to score in Copenhagen and I'm sure we're going to get it again."

PA Media

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