Euro 2024 qualifiers: Northern Ireland stun Denmark to end poor campaign on a high

Isaac Price opened the scoring with his second Northern Ireland goal

Northern Ireland finally gave their supporters a result to cheer as they ended a poor Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with an impressive 2-0 win over Denmark in Belfast.

Second-half goals from Isaac Price and Dion Charles ensured Michael O’Neill’s men finished the campaign on a high.

Charles hit the post early on before NI goalkeeper Conor Hazard twice made good saves before the break.

The Danes had secured their place in the Euro finals before Monday’s game.

A win over Slovenia on Friday booked Denmark that place in the finals and they rested a few big names for the Windsor Park encounter, with Manchester United pair Rasmus Højlund and Christian Eriksen already missing through injury.

That didn’t make the much-needed victory any less sweet for the Northern Ireland players and supporters, however, with the Green and White Army bursting into life for the majority of the second half.

It had been seven defeats from nine games until Monday night for what has mostly been a young and inexperienced Northern Ireland side throughout this campaign, with their only previous points coming from two wins over minnows San Marino.

Dion Charles’ 81st-minute goal – brilliantly set up by substitute Conor McMenamin – sealed Northern Ireland’s victory over the Danes

Missing a host of key players due to injury, it has been a tough and at times dismal period for manager O’Neill after he was appointed for a second spell in charge with genuine hopes of qualification before the injuries took their toll.

Northern Ireland’s opening goal on 52 minutes came from an excellent passing move from left to right that was finished superbly by Price to deliver a rare high point for the Windsor faithful, who savoured the occasion and generated an atmosphere more reminiscent of O’Neill’s first spell i charge.

Wing-back Jamal Lewis started the move with neat work down the left before playing a nice ball inside to Dion Charles, who in turn found namesake Shea Charles.

With space opening up and the home crowd urging him to shoot, the 20-year-old Southampton midfielder showed all the composure he has become renowned for to slip a cute ball to the right to Price, who beat goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel at his near post with a well-struck, low shot for his second international goal.

The home side’s second arrived nine minutes from time when substitute Conor McMenamin got in down the left and delivered a firm low cross that was met at the back post by Charles, whose double against San Marino in March had got the campaign off to a winning start on O’Neill’s return.

NI make strong start before Danes take charge

Not for the first time in this campaign, Northern Ireland made a positive start to the match, with Dale Taylor and Price working extremely hard in behind frontman Charles in what once again looked like a 5-2-2-1 formation.

With Taylor to the left and Price to the right, Northern Ireland were on the front foot early on and came within inches of taking the lead in the eighth minute.

The Danes failed to clear a long ball over the top and Charles latched on to it, taking a fine first touch before unleashing a low left-foot strike across goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel that looked destined for the bottom corner before hitting the inside of the post and bouncing out.

Two minutes later they threatened again when Bolton Wanderers defender Eoin Toal met a cross by captain-for-the-night Paddy McNair but his header at the back post flew just wide.

Denmark began to take control of the match as the half progressed, with Brentford midfielder Mathias Jensen setting the tempo for tempo for them and starting to play a number of dangerous passes forward.

They had their first effort of note on 24 minutes when Morten Hjulmand’s half-volley from distance flew just over the bar before a shot by Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen took a strong deflection off Matthew O’Riley and bounced just wide.

The visitors probably should have taken the lead when Kasper Dolberg slid in to meet a low Victor Kristiansen cross but he seemed lose his bearings and dragged his close-range shot wide.

Conor Hazard, again deputing for the injured Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the home goal, then made two fine saves, the first a superb reaction stop to deny Andersen and the second another great reaction as he had to adjust his feet to save with his legs from a 20-yard Morten Hjulmand strike.

More to follow.


Northern Ireland

Formation 5-4-1





12Hazard2HumeBooked at 33mins5Toal17McNair22Brown3Lewis14PriceSubstituted forSmythat 78’minutes19Charles6SavilleBooked at 28minsSubstituted forThompsonat 82’minutes13TaylorSubstituted forMcMenaminat 78’minutes10CharlesSubstituted forWashingtonat 87’minutesSubstitutes1McMullan4Boyd-Munce7McMenamin8McCausland9Washington11Jones15Thompson16Marshall18Smyth20Spencer21Magennis23Southwood


Formation 4-3-3





1Schmeichel13Kristensen2AndersenBooked at 90mins6Christensen14Kristiansen10O’RileySubstituted forHøjbjergat 61’minutesBooked at 90mins11HjulmandSubstituted forWindat 73’minutes7JensenSubstituted forDelaneyat 61’minutes18LindstrømSubstituted forPoulsenat 56’minutes12Dolberg9DaramySubstituted forVestergaardat 61’minutesSubstitutes3Nelsson4Vestergaard5Mæhle8Delaney16Hermansen17Stryger Larsen19Wind20Poulsen21Dreyer22Rønnow23Højbjerg

Live Text

Match ends, Northern Ireland 2, Denmark 0.

Second Half ends, Northern Ireland 2, Denmark 0.

Attempt saved. Jonas Wind (Denmark) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kasper Dolberg.

Attempt blocked. Jonas Wind (Denmark) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Joachim Andersen (Denmark) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Joachim Andersen (Denmark).

Trai Hume (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Denmark. Conceded by Conor Hazard.

Attempt saved. Kasper Dolberg (Denmark) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Denmark. Conceded by Paddy McNair.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Denmark) is shown the yellow card.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Conor Washington replaces Dion Charles because of an injury.

Delay in match because of an injury Dion Charles (Northern Ireland).

Foul by Kasper Dolberg (Denmark).

Paddy McNair (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Jordan Thompson replaces George Saville.

Goal! Northern Ireland 2, Denmark 0. Dion Charles (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Conor McMenamin with a cross following a fast break.

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Paul Smyth replaces Isaac Price.

Substitution, Northern Ireland. Conor McMenamin replaces Dale Taylor.


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