No Extra-Time Needed, The Irish Will Win Tonight

Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign has been very much up and down.

The Build-Up
It’s been exciting at times while there have also been some poor days too and now it all comes down to tonight.

The players themselves will be excited but there’ll be a lot of nerves there too, similar to the supporters. I’m really looking forward to it; it’ll be a great night at the Aviva and I think we’re all going there in the hope that the team can do the business tonight and we’ll all be in Russia next summer!

I think it’s fair to say that Denmark should be coming to Dublin with at least a 1-0 advantage tonight but I didn’t see a team in Denmark that I would be frightened of.

Of course Christian Eriksen is one of the best players around but when we nullified his efforts on Saturday I didn’t see anything else in the Danish side that would really worry me. Overall I think we’ve a really good chance and I think we will win tonight because I really don’t see any major threats from Denmark.

I think it’s up to the players to take a bit of responsibility tonight. Who’s going to get on the ball? Who’s going to be that player that looks to pass forward and run forward? I’ve got be looking for a big night from someone like Robbie Brady or James McClean. These are the players that can provide a bit of spark for us within 90 minutes.

Jeff Hendrick put in a great performance on Saturday and is very capable of doing the same tonight. Personally I’d like to go with Shane Long up front because with his pace, he could hurt the two Danish centre halves. We didn’t play very well on Saturday night so responsibility is going to have to be taken by our players on the pitch tonight.

Best Bet
I think the game will end in 90 minutes and there will be no extra-time or penalties. We have found them out now and we will score. Shane Duffy to score first and Republic of Ireland to win 1-0 is priced at a whopping 80/1 but is not to be sniffed at.

He has been playing brilliantly and he almost scored on Saturday.

The level of his performance has gone through the roof in the last three or four games.

Regardless of anything I’d be looking at Shane Duffy to score first tonight. He’s the man who’s looking very dangerous from set pieces.


France 2009
The France game from 2009 sticks in my mind today. It’s such a long wait throughout the day from when you wake up that morning. You get up and have breakfast and the day just seems to drag on. I remember that day particularly well. I would always usually have tried to get a bit of sleep and rest in the afternoon before a game.

I couldn’t sleep that day because I was constantly thinking about the game. The nervousness was there all day. There’ll be a few of the players that will be able to put the nerves aside tonight and get themselves set up and follow the regular routine but of course there’ll be lads on the team that are very different.

Games like these are the reason you play football.

Our players will be nervous with the weight of expectation that’s on their shoulders and the Danish players will be feeling the same also. We hope that one of the big mistakes on the pitch tonight isn’t going to be made by an Irish player tonight.

The 12th Man
As always the Irish supporters will be out 12th man tonight. I’ve certainly learned to appreciate the supporters more since I stopped playing football. Of course I appreciated them when I was playing but I wasn’t really able to encapsulate what the supporters were doing in and around the games particularly away from home.

I was in Copenhagen on Saturday and seeing so many Irish fans travel to Denmark without tickets and just desperate to see the team playing well and qualify is just incredible. Our fans light up a tournament with what they bring to it, everyone knows that and particularly the Irish players.

Tonight will be a nervy night and yes we’ll be edgy but if the whole country gets up for the game as a supporting unit tonight backing the lads until the very end, that will be something extra special that the Danes don’t have.

Hopefully we get a result tonight that the supporters, players and management deserve and it will be a special night in the Aviva. I have a feeling it will be!