The Danish Media Reaction To "Irritating" Ireland

Gavin Cooney
By Gavin Cooney
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Ahead of kick-off last night, the sky above the Parken Stadium was assailed by fireworks. By the end, it merely carried the boos of despairing Danish fans across the Copenhagen night.

Ireland once again proved international football is a thing to be endured rather than enjoyed, and the Danish frustrations are reflected in their football media today.

BT, which bombastically roared "Ireland's Coffin" yesterday, leads the front page of their main paper with a picture of an exasperated Simon Kjaer above the headline IRRITERENDE, which translates as you may expect: Irritating.

The paper's match report leads with how Ireland "interrupted" any possible Danish momentum, and talks of how the Irish performance "exposed the Danish dream" of going to the World Cup.

Columnist Soren Hanghoj Kristensen asks "Was this acceptable?". He admits surprise at the direct tactics engaged against a physically superior Ireland, saying that using the "rough sandpaper" rather than the more precise file (they do agonising metaphors too) was a mistake.

In the days leading up to the match, Åge Hareide did not sound like it was an opportunity to play the same way as in September [in a 4-0 win at home to Poland]. Because of the physical strength of the Irish. Still, it was exactly what he chose to do. It's amazed me.

My suggestion is that the Irish coach had hoped and prayed for his old tenant [the Danish manager rented O'Neill's flat when both played together at Norwich], Åge Hareide, to play and set as he did.


Elsewhere, the paper decided to report Eamon Dunphy's verdict of the Irish performance on RTE. Yeah, we don't know why either.

Ekstra Bladet are more optimistic: their headline screams Calm Down! Their front page report is hooked on an extended musical theme. They hail Ireland's impact on world music (U2, Cranberries, Pogues, Van Morrison,  and Sinead O'Connor get a mention) and then go on to chastise the Danish performance, which was more "Johnny Logan than rock and roll". Rather than see him as a conductor, they describe Christian Eriksen as Denmark's lead guitarist.

They criticise Denmark for lacking a Plan B, and by this stage we assume the music metaphor has ended.


While the Danish manager was spinning the result as a positive last night, both papers admit that the result tips the balance in favour of the Irish.

Neither paper pay much attention to individual Irish performances (Randolph and Christie are the only ones to earn any praise), but do give a cursory word for Ireland's game plan: relying entirely on set-pieces and dead balls.

They do give out player ratings to the Danish players, with poor Nicolai Jorgensen getting a 1 (!) from Ekstra Bladet, and a nice, round zero from BT. The only Danish players to impress their own media were Christian Eriksen (6;7). Simon Kjaer ( a pair of 7s) and Kasper Schmeichel.


Nicklas Bendtner, by the way, didn't get a rating from anyone.

See Also: An Ugly Job Well Done, Back To Dublin It Is


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