Football | Ireland to face play-offs after Denmark draw

The Republic of Ireland have fallen agonizingly short of automatic qualification for Euro 2020.

The Boys in Green came from behind to draw 1-1 with Denmark at the Aviva Stadium, but needed a win to finish in the top two in Group D.

Martin Braithwaite gave Denmark the lead against the run of play in the 73rd minute, before Matt Doherty headed Ireland level with five minutes remaining in Dublin.

The hosts pushed for a late winner, but could not find a breakthrough against Age Hareide’s resilient visitors.

Switzerland – who won 6-1 in Gibraltar – will join the Danes in Euro 2020, with Ireland now contesting the play-offs in March.

As it stands, Ireland’s potential opponents are Wales, Slovakia and Bosnia. Northern Ireland will also be in the play-offs, but can’t meet the Republic until the final due to rankings.

The draw for the play-offs takes place in Nyon this Friday.

Mick McCarthy’s men were the better side for large parts of the game, and Denmark’s goal came against the run of play in the second half.

Conor Hourihane had the best opportunity of the first half, but his low shot from inside the box was a tame one.

Alan Browne and David McGoldrick also flashed efforts off target, with the Danes creating few openings of note in the opening 45 minutes.

Ireland made a bright start to the second half, with Kasper Schmeichel forced to palm away a wicked cross from Hourihane following a short Irish corner.

Ciaran Clark – who replaced the injured John Egan at the interval – headed over from a corner as the home side won a series of set pieces.

McGoldrick fired a half-volley over on the turn, before Braithwaite broke Irish hearts with just over a quarter of an hour remaining.

Henrik Dalsgaard whipped a cross in from the right flank, with Braithwaite applying a finish with his outstretched foot after escaping the attentions of Doherty and Shane Duffy.

Ireland responded admirably, and were level in the 85th minute.

After prolonged pressure in the Denmark half, Enda Stevens floated a cross to the back post, which the foraging Doherty headed past Schmeichel to make it 1-1.

Substitute Sean Maguire saw his header deflected behind for a corner as the Boys in Green hunted for a late winner.

Denmark held on to finish second on 17 points in Group D, a point behind group winners Switzerland.

You can relive all of the action as it happened here.