Foiled once again. Denmark delivered a devastating blow in Dublin as they ensured Ireland are set to fight for a European Championships spot in the playoffs thanks to tonight's draw.
Despite enjoying the majority of possession and playing the better football, the tie finished 1-1. Martin Braithwaite's second-half strike left Ireland with a mountain to climb and despite a Matt Doherty equaliser, they could not scale it.
For former Ireland international Jon Walters, the Danes goal was coming and demonstrated the small margins that are key at this level.
73 mins GOAL DENMARK - Martin Braithwaite gets on the end of a Henrik Dalsgaard cross as the visitors hit the front against the run of playhttps://t.co/ysYaWRki0t #IRDEN #rtesoccer pic.twitter.com/Idard9Uv0Y
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 18, 2019
Speaking on Sky Sports, Walters pointed to the tired bodies evident at that moment.
I think previous to the goal they threatened to come in that position two or three times. Look at Shane Duffy and Matt Doherty, they both stay in the box. The defence should get up five yards. The ball is played sideways and again five yards stay in. At this level, you do not have time to be tired. The boys looked tired there. You don't have time.
"Don't take away from the finish, it is a great finish and a great run. But two things happened. Shane dropped too deep behind Matt and we should be up."
"You are tired but you should put an arm across and Shane is too deep."
Walters contested the idea that Ireland had several opportunities, suggesting they were "not clear cut chances. A lot of half-chances."
"That is what it is at this level. One chance. Denmark did what they needed to do. We are tired but you do not have time to be tired. You don't. That is the difference. The difference is that," he explained.
Statistically, Ireland had 15 shots but only three were on target. This, for Walters, was the main issue: "Just look at the goal difference."
However, he agreed with manager Mick McCarthy about the overall performance and said if they played like that in the playoffs, "we can beat anybody".
Elsewhere, speaking after the game, man of the match David McGoldrick said they gave it all they could.
"We left it all out there, that was the thing we said before the game. We just had to give everything. A little slack concentration, they scored. Docs made up for it. We pushed, we pushed, we pushed. It wasn't to be."