Bendtner plays up away goals edge

Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner expects the Irish to leave gaps behind their defence when they play with more abandon at their home Aviva Stadium than they did in the first leg.
Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner expects the Irish to leave gaps behind their defence when they play with more abandon at their home Aviva Stadium than they did in the first leg.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

DUBLIN • Nicklas Bendtner is confident Denmark can take advantage of a more attack-minded Ireland to qualify for the World Cup today.

The Danes were held to a first-leg 0-0 draw in Copenhagen on Saturday. But with Martin O'Neill's men set to pursue victory with more abandon in Dublin, Bendtner believes the hosts will leave themselves vulnerable at the back during the return leg.

"I think it will be a different match," the former Arsenal striker said. "They know they can't play a match where they have to stay so deep. They have to come out, they have to try to score.

"I think they will come out a little more, which will allow us to get more space. In a way I think it will be a more interesting match to watch.

"Maybe we have a slight advantage given the fact that, if both teams score, we are going to be the ones going through, and that's why this second game will be a little bit different."

Denmark can draw further hope from Ireland's record at the Aviva Stadium during this qualifying campaign. Against their strongest Group D opponents - Wales, Austria and Serbia - they scored just once and took two points out of a possible nine.

O'Neill has already suggested that his side will probably need to score twice today to prevail due to the away-goals rule. But defender Shane Duffy does not envisage a radically different approach.

Ireland have kept clean sheets in their last three matches and shutting out Denmark remains the priority.

"We'll go in with the same game plan obviously, we'll be hard to beat," said the Brighton centreback. "We'll be disciplined. We know we can score goals, we're at home and we've got to go for it.

"But we've still got to respect them. They've got players who can cut you open.

"You can't get ahead of yourselves and go out all guns blazing and lose the match early on."

THE GUARDIAN

IRELAND V DENMARK

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2017, with the headline 'Bendtner plays up away goals edge'. Print Edition | Subscribe