McCarthy keeping Republic grounded before Gibraltar test
Mick McCarthy warned his Republic of Ireland battlers not to enjoy their Euro 2020 draw in Denmark for too long at the end of a bittersweet night in Copenhagen.
Shane Duffy’s 85th-minute equaliser secured a 1-1 Group D draw at the Telia Parken Stadium as Ireland denied the Danes victory for the fourth time in five meetings.
However, the edge was taken off a creditable result by the news that substitute Alan Judge, who provided the cross for the defender, broke his wrist as time ran down.
While happy with a result McCarthy had admitted he would have been thrilled to take in advance, and even more pleased with the performance, he swiftly turned his attention to Monday night’s clash with Gibraltar in Dublin.
Asked what statement the result made to the rest of the group, he said: “I don’t know, I’m not making any statements.
“You write it, you make all the statements. I’m just pleased we played as well as we did. I’m not looking at statements.
“We’ve got a game on Monday. I’ve just done my dad job and reminded them that while we enjoy this, we’ve got a game on Monday.”
Keeper Darren Randolph, who made fine saves from Christian Eriksen before the break and Yussuf Poulsen after it, was more forthcoming when asked what message the result had sent.
Randolph said: “That we’re in contention to be at the top of the group.
“Obviously a lot of people will probably look at it and think, ‘Oh, Denmark and Switzerland, they’ll fight it out’, but I think we’ve shown tonight that we’re right up there.
“We’ve left ourselves in a great position going into Monday’s game, so we need to go and capitalise on the performance and the result tonight.”
Ireland once again frustrated the Danes for long periods, but were grateful for sub-standard finishing as well as good goalkeeping and committed defending as they made it to the 76th minute with their clean sheet intact.
However, it was then that substitute Pierre Emile Hojbjerg got his head to Jens Stryger Larsen’s cross to put the home side in front, only for Duffy to cancel out his effort nine minutes later from Judge’s perfect delivery.
McCarthy said: “I don’t think we could have asked for much more out of the game, to be quite honest with you. We were playing a good side – they had some good chances, we made saves, blocks and they missed a couple.
“Mind, we had some chances as well, I thought, and we were still going at 94 minutes trying to get a winner, so I’m delighted with the performance.”
Judge’s misfortune, however, left a sour taste.
McCarthy said: “I feel sorry for him. If he didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any at all because he broke his arm, I think.”
Denmark boss Age Hareide admitted his side had been made to pay for a series of costly misses.
He said: “We created a lot of chances and it is important in football to get goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t get them.
“Sometimes football is not decided not by how many chances created, but by how many goals you score.
“We played well and created chances, but we have to put them away and of course that is a disappointment. Sometimes football is a little cruel.”