FOOTBALL: Ruthless Denmark dump Republic of Ireland out of World Cup
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 1 DENMARK 5
Christian Eriksen plundered a stunning hat-trick as Denmark shot the Republic of Ireland's World Cup dreams down in flames to book their ticket to Russia in emphatic style.
The Tottenham midfielder, who had been effectively shackled in Copenhagen on Saturday evening, took the second leg of the play-off tie by the scruff of the neck with two superb finishes either side of half-time before lashing home a third late on.
In the process, he took his tally for the campaign to 11 goals, just two fewer than the Republic managed in their 12 games in the competition, before substitute Nicklas Bendtner converted a last-minute penalty.
Denmark boss Age Hareide had forecast that old friend Martin O'Neill could not be as negative as he had been at the Parken Stadium, and was confident his players could exploit that.
His assertion proved astute as despite taking an early lead through Shane Duffy's header, Ireland were simply unable to find the right balance between attack and defence after Cyrus Christie's own goal had restored parity.
The organisation which had characterised the Republic progression to the play-offs disintegrated horribly and in the end, they were picked off in ruthless fashion.