DUBLIN – Denmark got the point they needed to seal a place at Euro 2020 as Group D runners-up with a 1-1 draw in Ireland on Monday that consigned the hosts to the playoffs for the third successive tournament.
A 73rd minute Martin Braithwaite goal set the 1992 European champions on their way to celebrating qualification in Dublin for the second tournament in a row after a 5-1 win almost two years ago to the day had sent them to last year's World Cup.
But they had to survive a late onslaught when Ireland, the better side throughout, scored only their seventh goal in eight qualifiers when Matt Doherty headed home after 85 minutes but they could not get the win they needed to qualify automatically.
While no other team in contention across the 10 groups had hit the net as infrequently, Ireland possessed one of the best defensive records, so chances were unsurprisingly few and far between in the first half.
It took 34 minutes for a shot on target and when the ball fell fortuitously to an open Conor Hourihane on the edge of the Denmark box, the Aston Villa midfielder should have done better than stroke the ball straight at goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.