Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill (right). Photo: Reuters / Tony O'Brien

BERLIN - Ireland have given themselves every opportunity of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time since 2002 - but the hard part is still to come.

Having restricted Denmark to a goalless draw in the first leg in Copenhagen, Martin O'Neill's side will now need to be more adventurous, while retaining their defensive discipline, before home fans in Dublin.

A goal will be enough if they can again keep out Age Hareide's side, but Ireland will "need to be more creative" in Dublin, said O'Neill - and may need more than one goal.

"It was a tough evening and the players did splendidly," O'Neill said after a match in which Denmark dominated possession.

"We've come out the other side and it's all to play for. We'll have to win a game and we might have to score a couple because Denmark are capable of scoring."

Ireland can point to plenty of play-off experience to stand them in good stead, this being the eighth time they have contested a play-off to reach a major tournament - more than any other European nation.

They have prevailed in three of the last four but famously went out in a World Cup play-off in 2009 when Thierry Henry's handball in the Stade de France enabled William Gallas to secure the crucial extra-time goal for the home side.

Denmark, who missed out on the 2014 finals and Euro 2016, are still seen as favourites, unbeaten in more than a year and not defeated by Ireland in a competitive match since 1979.

The Danes have also won their last three competitive away games, but Ireland can point to a formidable home record, with only one defeat in their last 13 competitive games before their own fans.

Hareide had said before the first leg a goalless draw would not be a bad result for Denmark, and immediately afterwards sounded confident for the trip to Dublin.

The coach, who will again be looking for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen to unpick the Ireland defence, said: "If we play like this in Dublin, we'll win.

"I also think Ireland have to get forward more at home, the crowd will push them more forward and that will give us a little bit more space."

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