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Martin O'Neill defiant as Republic of Ireland suffer World Cup woe against Danes

Martin O'Neill defiant as Republic of Ireland suffer World Cup woe against Danes
By PA Sport

15/11/2017 at 07:25Updated 15/11/2017 at 07:32

Martin O'Neill dismissed the suggestion his luck had run out after the Republic of Ireland's World Cup dream was ended by Denmark.

Martin O'Neill dismissed the suggestion his luck had run out after the Republic of Ireland's World Cup dream was ended by Denmark.

Republic boss O'Neill was also defiant when asked if the 5-1 play-off defeat would have any effect on his verbal agreement with Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney over a contract extension.

The Republic were repeatedly picked off as they threw caution to the wind, something they have rarely done during O'Neill's four-year reign.

Tottenham's Christian Eriksen fired a hat-trick as the home crowd in Dublin saw their hopes of a trip to Russia 2018 end in tatters.

O'Neill said of his contract situation : "I haven't spoken to John since we talked about it, so I'll speak to John, I'm sure. There was an agreement, but I'll speak to John in the next couple of weeks."

And he was irked by the notion his luck may have turned on a night when a positive start unravelled alarmingly.

He said: "That's simply not true. I didn't win those trophies that I have won both as a player and as a manager and have some luck. Everybody is entitled to a little bit of luck, so I totally disagree with you.

"We were well beaten tonight by a side that was technically better than us and have a word-class player playing in their team, but I don't agree with you about luck running out.

"The disappointment is obviously very, very strong tonight because we haven't been able to do it, but I have to commend the players on getting this far."

Denmark boss Age Hareide saluted one of the "top 10" players in the world after seeing Eriksen inspire the rout.

The Tottenham midfielder plundered at will as the Danes dominated at the Aviva Stadium after being held to a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen.

Eriksen tore Ireland to shreds as they attempted to adopt a more adventurous approach on their own pitch to leave Hareide purring.

Asked if Eriksen could be considered as one of the top 10 players in the world, Hareide said: "Yes, absolutely in the top 10.

"It's difficult to rank, but we saw (in Tottenham's Champions League victory) against Real Madrid he is probably one of the best players in his position in Europe at the moment.

"Ronaldo, Messi and some strikers are playing as forwards. Christian is more a wide man or a central midfield player. He has this capability of scoring goals, making assists, finding space, so definitely top 10."

Hareide is confident there is more to come from Eriksen, who is thriving in North London.

He said: "He's in a team now at Tottenham which wants to play football. They play football - we saw against Real Madrid that it suits him very well to play there.

"He has good players to play with, he has a good manager and I think he is enjoying his time at Tottenham at the moment."

After taking an early lead which sent spirits soaring inside a packed Aviva Stadium, Ireland were put down brutally by Denmark, for whom Eriksen was lethal after an untypical ineffectual display in the first leg.

Cyrus Christie's unfortunate own goal had cancelled out Shane Duffy's opener, but Eriksen then took over and produced expert finishes either side of half-time and completed his hat-trick with a gleeful 74th-minute strike before substitute Nicklas Bendtner rounded things off with a late penalty.

Hareide said: "The whole team did well, played well and scored a lot of goals and we are in Russia. That was the goal and aim before I started as the coach for Denmark and I am very pleased."

Eriksen told Sky Sports Main Event: "It's not often I score any hat-trick, so of course it's incredible and taking your country to the World Cup with three goals away and winning the play-off, it's going to mean a lot for my whole career, for my whole life really. It's a big thing and I'm very, very happy about it.

"It's an incredible feeling. We've been fighting for so long to get there (to the World Cup) and of course now the two play-off games were very hard but with the result we got tonight we can be very pleased and it makes you very much looking forward to the World Cup."

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