Eriksen hat-trick seals Denmark's spot in World Cup

With Sporting News

A world-class performance from Christian Eriksen, that included a top-corner wonder goal against Republic of Ireland, helped Denmark seal their spot in the World Cup.

Hat-trick hero Eriksen was the difference as Denmark silenced a thunderous Dublin crowd to beat Ireland 5-1 to book their ticket to the 2018 World Cup.

The sides had played out a numb, goalless draw in Copenhagen and the six previous play-off games across the globe had all finished goalless.

However, this return leg was a superb contest from the beginning as Irish defender Shane Duffy opened the scoring with a sixth-minute header.

Ireland's inability to score in the first leg meant its lead was as precarious as could be, however, and two goals inside three minutes put Denmark in firm control.

Eriksen was the hat-trick hero for the Danes. Pic: Getty

Cyrus Christie was unfortunate to turn into his own goal, but Eriksen's brilliant strike oozed the kind of class needed to settle these ties.

Martin O'Neill's side had only managed to score three goals once in this campaign, away at Moldova, and the task was beyond them in the 63rd minute as Eriksen curled another beauty past Darren Randolph before drilling home his third from close range to start the party among Denmark's traveling support.

Substitute Nicklas Bendtner then added a fifth from the penalty spot in the last minute as qualification was emphatically sealed for the first time since 2010.

Eriksen was the youngest player in that tournament, but more performances like this will be key as Age Hareide hopes for better than the group-stage exit in South Africa, with Ireland left to lick its wounds at home.