Football: Charlton dwells on Danish danger

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The Independent Online
JACK CHARLTON'S satisfaction at the Republic of Ireland's 3-0 World Cup victory over their northern cousins on Wednesday was tempered by the news of the 1-0 defeat of the Group Three leaders, Spain, in Copenhagen.

Although the effect of the two results was to leave the Republic a point behind Spain with two games in hand, Charlton would have preferred a draw or a Spanish win, particularly as Denmark visit Lansdowne Road later this month. 'The Danish win is not a good result for the Republic because it means we can't afford a slip against them in our next match,' Charlton said. 'They will feel they are still very much in it.'

The Republic's first-half display when, with the elements in their favour, they destroyed Northern Ireland with three goals in eight minutes will have been a warning to the European champions. However, the Danes will have noted also that Charlton's team could not sustain their impressive form after the interval.

'We were great in the first half. We hunted in packs and made our passes and pressure count,' Charlton said. 'If we can sort out a way of playing that well without running out of steam like we did before the end, then who knows what we can achieve?'

Billy Bingham said his side had been 'bulldozed by the Republic and at one stage in the first half there was simply no stopping them. Andy Townsend ran the game for them and we could never nail down Ray Houghton. Their midfield is tremendously strong, and although we improved in the second half we just couldn't cope with them on occasions. Roy Keane seemed to win every loose ball.'

The Northern Ireland manager all but accepted that his side's World Cup hopes had been ended. 'Realistically, we've got a mountain to climb. I see it now as the Republic and Spain going through from this group, although Denmark are still dangerous.'

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