Denmark failed to break through some stubborn defending by Ireland in a lackluster 0-0 draw in the first leg of their World Cup playoff on Saturday.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) Denmark failed to break through some stubborn defending by Ireland in a lackluster 0-0 draw in the first leg of their World Cup playoff on Saturday.
Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph was forced to make two good saves in the first half but was protected well after halftime, with Denmark star Christian Eriksen kept quiet at Parken Stadium.
Both teams were careful to not leave themselves open in what was always likely to be a tight match, given Ireland's preference to defend deeply and play on the counterattack.
The second leg is in Dublin on Tuesday, when Denmark will look to clinch a place in its first major tournament since 2012.
Ireland last played at a World Cup in 2002 and is featuring in its ninth playoff for a major tournament.
Randolph produced a double save in one first-half attack, off Nicolai Jorgensen and Andreas Cornelius, before seeing Pione Sisto side-foot wide from 10 meters minutes later after the Ireland goalkeeper parried out Eriksen's long-range cross.
The best action of the second half was reserved for the final minutes, when Randolph tipped over Yussuf Poulsen's header and Denmark midfielder Jens Larsen had a shot deflected just wide.
Eriksen scored eight goals in qualifying and has been one of the standout playmakers in Europe in recent seasons at English club Tottenham. However, he was well-marshalled by Ireland's midfield and cut a frustrated figure at times.