Thomas Delaney says ‘it was easy for us’ in hammering of Ireland
Danish midfielder said there was much more space in the midfield for his side to work the ball
Denmark’s Thomas Delaney celebrates at the end of the game. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
History, they say, is written by the winners and on nights like this quotes pieces are generally filed with their thoughts as the losers make straight for the bus. As one Irish player after another slipped through the mixed zone at the Aviva stadium and barely one stopped, the Danish press filled their boots. Their players talked and talked, excited by the prospect of a World Cup next summer and surprised, it seemed, by just how straightforward the final step of the journey had been.
“Maybe we brought the can opener this time,” said Thomas Delaney with a grin when asked what had changed from Saturday night when he had compared trying to break down the Irish to opening a tin of beans with his bare hands.
“It was easy for us,” he said. “They had to go forward and we wanted to play in between and we did today, that was probably the biggest difference. We were able to find space, especially Christian Eriksen and Pione Sisto were in that room and we know that they are top players. But I think if you go back to the zero zero, in Copenhagen, it was a better result for us than for Ireland after the game.”
That much became abundantly apparent here as the night wore on although there was that brief spell in the opening stages when the home side led and were, notionally at least, in the driving seat. At that stage, surely, the Danes must have been concerned?
“Yeah, a little bit, in the minutes after,” said Delaney as though he might be humouring us. “You could also say that the crowd made it difficult for us to communicate in there. And the goal they scored is lack of communication, you can’t even talk so a situation that shouldn’t be dangerous, it became dangerous.”
But the Danes seemed not to be shaken by the setback at all. The were confident in fact that the way Ireland were set up would allow them to draw level then push on to win the game. Age Hareide said he was grateful for all the space his midfield was afforded and Delaney admitted to having been a little surprised by it all too.
“Yes, maybe a little bit because we were able to, especially me and Kvist, were able to play around the first pressure. We were able to find Christian Eriksen and Pione Sisto pretty easily because, I don’t know what you say in English, but they moved so much over and we were able to find the room.” As the home side were obliged to chase the game with ever greater abandon, that room was only ever going to expand.
Their reward is to go to Russia while Ireland stay at home to commence what will have to be a fairly extensive rebuild but Delaney has not even started to think what he and his teammates might be capable of achieving at the World Cup. “I haven’t given it a thought,” he says with a smile. “For the moment I am just very happy and very proud of the team that we came through. We have to see but we are going to keep working. It’s a big step for us, we are a young team but I think we have a good hand....”
It will be tougher there than it was here no doubt but they certainly had a good night.