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'Ireland are so bad' - Schmeichel doesn't hold back in scathing assessment of Boys in Green

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Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen scores the winning goal despite the close attention of Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez. Photo by Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP via Getty Images

Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen scores the winning goal despite the close attention of Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez. Photo by Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP via Getty Images

Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Ima

Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen scores the winning goal despite the close attention of Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez. Photo by Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP via Getty Images

An hour after the final whistle in Copenhagen on Saturday, while Denmark were basking in their undeserved win, Switzerland's players were immersed in a full-scale training session on the Parken Stadium pitch.

Exercises in sprinting, heading and passing were on the planner, none needing to be concealed from prying Danish eyes. They're glad to be finished with them for this European qualifying campaign.

Switzerland are the contender in the group with most ground to make up following their first defeat. They've little time to waste until tomorrow's visit of Ireland to Geneva.

Seven points from their run-in, completed by fixtures next month against Georgia and Gibraltar, should see them into a fourth Euros in five attempts but they won't be settling for a draw against the Irish. To secure a first win of the campaign against one of their qualification rivals is essential.

They've taken eight points from five fixtures but that would be 12 by now and, with it, top spot in Pool D, only for conceding goals in two games against Denmark and the visit to Dublin in June. Five goals were conceded, each in the last six minutes, across those games. The latest was Yussuf Poulsen's later winner in Copenhagen.

"Conceding that goal was stupid and naïve," said centre-back Fabian Schär, who was similarly blunt in the wake of David McGoldrick's late equaliser in June. "We just cannot concentrate 90 minutes."

Manager Vladimir Petkovic admitted the pattern, started in March by squandering a three-goal lead against the Danes, is a concern.

"Maybe towards the end of matches, there's been a lack of mental strength," he said. "It's more in the head because we played well enough against Denmark to have won by a few goals."

Wasteful finishing and the heroics of Kasper Schmeichel combined to expose the Swiss to that late sucker-punch.

The Danish goalkeeper's father Peter spoke with some of the dejected Swiss players heading for the team base.

He's convinced Ireland will be the odd one out in the battle for the two qualification berths come the end of the campaign next month.

"Switzerland will win against Ireland," said the ex-Manchester United keeper. "I have seen Ireland play and they are so bad. Switzerland can take a lot of positives from their performance in Copenhagen.

"They have some really talented players. If they play like that against Ireland, the win will come.

"Kasper had a great game on Saturday but overall the Denmark team didn't. Football can be difficult to understand sometimes."

Switzerland's veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner was equally puzzled at the defeat. He expects them to atone in Geneva.

"Denmark got their birthday and Christmas presents together by taking four points from us," said the former Arsenal full-back.

"We were the better team in the games but have to stop conceding goals.

"I know some of the Ireland players from my time in England. There will be lots of physical challenges around the pitch but we will be ready for that."

Indo Sport