Danes, Aussies Assured World Cup Tickets

Danes, Aussies Assured World Cup TicketsDanes, Aussies Assured World Cup Tickets

Denmark secured Europe’s final qualification spot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia with a 5-1 victory away to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday for a 5-1 aggregate result. It is the fifth time that the Danes have qualified for world football’s showpiece event.

Despite falling behind early, the Scandinavians responded with five unanswered goals to secure their place at Russia 2018, with Christian Eriksen leading the way with a hat-trick in Dublin, FIFA website reported.

A pulsating first half at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, saw the Irish take an early lead through Shane Duffy on six minutes. He converted Robbie Brady’s free-kick with his head after Nicolai Jorgensen misplayed the set-piece in the Danish box.

The early goal led to an open spell of play, with quality chances at both ends. It was around the half-hour mark that Denmark turned the match around with two valuable away goals.

Danes leveled the matter on 29 minutes following a short corner. Sisto Emirmija’s incisive run and low cross found Andreas Christensen, who knocked the ball off the post before the rebound took a deflection off of Ireland defender Cyrus Christie and found the back of the net for 1-1.

Three minutes later, an unmarked Eriksen put the Danes in front with an unstoppable finish off the underside of the crossbar after the visitors broke forward on the counterattack.

Any hopes Ireland had of turning this two-leg play-off tie around were dashed shortly after the hour mark, as Eriksen struck again with a well-taken second goal, as the Tottenham Hotspur man neatly placed a left-footed finish past Randolph to extend the visitors’ lead.

Eriksen would claim the match ball with a fortuitous third goal on 74 minutes, as he powered home with his right foot after Stephen Ward misplayed Jorgensen’s cross into the Irish box. The goal put him on a record 11 goals in World Cup qualifying for his country.

A late Nicklas Bendtner penalty emphatically confirmed that the Danes would be the ones celebrating in the Irish capital. Denmark’s qualification follows their four previous appearances at the global finals, having reached Mexico 1986, France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010.

 Hat-Trick Hero

Mile Jedinak was the unlikely goal hero as Australia claimed the 31st ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia with a 3-1 win over Honduras.

The Socceroos captain scored a brace of penalties after seeing an earlier free-kick deflected in off the luckless Henry Figueroa to spark jubilant scenes in Sydney.

Australia’s resounding victory, on the back of a goalless draw in the first leg of the sides’ CONCACAF/AFC Play-off second leg, takes the team to a fourth successive World Cup.

A crowd of 77,060 roared their approval at the end, although there was plenty of tension in the stands during a tight and goalless first half. Tom Rogic wasted the best chance during that period, scuffing a first-time left-foot shot into the arms of Donis Escober after Aziz Behich had combined brilliantly with Tim Cahill before cutting the ball back.

Rogic atoned for this miss nine minutes into the second half, though, with a thrilling solo run that brought Australia a free-kick on the edge of Honduras’s box. Jedinak assumed responsibility and his powerful right-foot shot took a wicked deflection off Figueroa, sending the ball spinning away from the wrong-footed and helpless Escober.

Cahill then sent a looping header against the face of the crossbar before Australia doubled their lead from the penalty spot with 18 minutes remaining. Bryan Acosta was penalized for a handball and, while Escober guessed correctly, diving low to his right, Jedinak’s spot-kick was accurate and powerful enough to evade his grasp.

The Socceroos skipper was not done yet, and added another goal to his name with five minutes remaining. Again, it was from the spot after a clear foul by Jerry Palacios on Robbie Kruse, with Jedinak outfoxing Escober on this occasion with a penalty drilled straight down the middle.

Maynor Figueroa pulled a goal back in the fourth minute of stoppage time, scrambling home from a corner, but it was of little consolation to a Honduras which will watch from the sidelines as Australia will fly to Russia next summer.



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