By Brendan O’Brien
Danish defender Andreas Bjelland has promised that the visitors will not lack for fight if tomorrow’s World Cup play-off second leg against the Republic of Ireland boils down to the final minutes or extra-time, writes Brendan O’Brien.
David Meyler had suggested earlier today that the Irish would bring more heart and spirit to the heat of battle if the margins were that tight at the Aviva Stadium, but the Brentford defender was quick to dismiss that.
“Right now we are talking about a game that will take us to the World Cup. Of course we have the fighting mentality if it goes to extra-time. We can fight with them if they want to fight but that is not our game plan. We want to get it down and play it around.”
Hi manager Age Hareide echoed those thoughts.
The Norwegian had started his pre-match press conference by reiterating many of the points he made in the wake of Saturday’s 0-0 draw between the sides in Copenhagen when Ireland had presented their hosts with a stubborn defensive wall.
“Everyone is fit,” said Hareide. “We just have to continue from the 0-0 in Copenhagen and take the 90 minutes and try to get a goal. If we get one goal they have to get two so it is obvious that we build on what we did in Copenhagen.
“We had a lot of the ball and we created chances to score a goal. We talked about the pitch and we had 587 passes in the match, which was 85% to a Danish shirt. The Irish had 206 passes and down to 60%. We have to expect the same.”
Hareide’s confidence was apparent with every answer – even those in Danish.
If the second leg finishes 0-0 after 120 minutes it will take penalties to separate the sides.
When asked how much extra work his side had done on that facet, his answer was short and to the point.
“Nothing,” he replied.
And why? For reasons of superstition? Or because it won’t come to that?
“Both. I’m superstitious and we don’t need them.”