Shane Duffy has revealed the Republic of Ireland used Denmark’s criticism as added motivation to secure a priceless Euro 2020 qualifying point in Copenhagen.
Brighton defender Duffy’s 85th-minute header snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat at the Telia Parken Stadium on Friday evening to leave Mick McCarthy’s men still top of Group D and unbeaten after three games.
Much of the talk in the run-up to the clash between increasingly-familiar foes centred around the Danes’ frustration with Ireland’s tactics under previous manager Martin O’Neill with Thomas Delaney having described their football as “primitive” and Christian Eriksen accusing them of being scared to attack.
Asked about those barbs, Duffy replied: “Everyone has got their opinions on it, I don’t really look into it. Words get said before games and sometimes we say some words which might upset.
“But when we cross that line, everyone has got respect for each other. We know it’s a tough job out there.
“Maybe that was their tactic to try to get at us, but we used it as motivation out there. We tried to prove a point.
“I think someone said, ‘You can change the manager, but you can’t change the team’. I think it was a different team out there.”
Denmark’s exasperation with the Republic heading into the game was perhaps understandable – three of the previous four games between the sides had ended goalless – but they had only themselves to blame for their latest failure to secure victory.
Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph made important saves from Eriksen and Yussuf Poulsen either side of half-time, but Age Hareide’s men failed to make the most of the opportunities they created before substitute Pierre Emile Hojbjerg headed them in front with 14 minutes remaining.
However, the lead lasted just nine minutes as Duffy, who had earlier forced a save from Kasper Schmeichel after latching on to a Conor Hourihane cross, repeated the dose from substitute Alan Judge’s inch-perfect free-kick to power home an equaliser.
James McClean might have snatched victory at the death, but the visitors were happy enough with their point, although their delight was tempered by the news that Judge broke his wrist in a late challenge.
Duffy said: “They’re a very good team – honestly, they are. It was a difficult night, actually. They had a lot of number 10s floating everywhere and Eriksen was getting it.
“I thought we did enough to keep ourselves in it and it feels like a good point now, actually. It feels like a different point because we actually went for it a bit.”
Duffy and his team-mates quickly turned their attention to Monday night’s home clash with Gibraltar with the defender warning they must maintain their standards.
He said: “I know Monday could be a little banana skin, so we have just got to have the same mentality going into it, get a good start and hopefully that will be 10 points on the board.
“That would be a good start. It’s a good start in a tough group between quite level teams. Seven points on the board – you always want nine, but you can’t be too greedy.”