Christian Eriksen scored a superb hat trick as Denmark qualified for next year’s World Cup with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Ireland in their playoff on Tuesday.
With last week’s first leg having finished 0-0, Ireland made an ideal start to the return match by taking the lead in the sixth minute through defender Shane Duffy.
But Denmark’s players gradually took control in midfield and were rewarded when Andreas Christensen’s effort went into the net off Ireland’s Cyrus Christie in the 29th minute.
Eriksen then stole the show, putting the visitors ahead in the 32nd minute, and scoring two more after the break.
Nicklas Bendtner turned a deserved victory into a rout when he converted a penalty in the 90th minute.
Next year’s tournament in Russia will be Denmark’s fifth World Cup appearance and first since 2010.
Denmark coach Age Hareide paid tribute to Eriksen, who has been on fine form this season for Tottenham in the Premier League and the Champions League.
Asked Eriksen’s world ranking as a player, Hareide said: “Absolutely in the top 10. It is difficult to rank, but we saw him against Real Madrid. He is probably one of the best players in his position in Europe at the moment.
“All the teams that succeed and go to a World Cup have star players, and players that can make the difference and Christian showed that today.”