Ireland manager Mick McCarthy compares qualifier against Denmark to famous 2001 Holland clash
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Ireland manager Mick McCarthy compares qualifier against Denmark to famous 2001 Holland clash

MICK MCCARTHTY has branded Ireland's Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark next month as a "massive occasion", comparing it to his side's crunch game against the Netherlands back in 2001.

The Ireland boss was keen to emphasise the importance of the Denmark match, knowing a win for his side will take them to Euro 2020.

"Look, it has turned out to be a massive occasion," McCarthy said, before comparing the situation to the one he faced while in charge of the national team back in 2001, when Ireland famously secured passage to the 2002 World Cup finals.

Jason McAteer of the Republic of Ireland celebrates his goal during the World Cup Qualifier against Holland played at Lansdowne Road in Dublin, Ireland.
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"It's Holland here, it's Iran away, it's a huge game, one to get excited about. We'll have to play well, we played well in Copenhagen, we'll have to play better again to beat them in Dublin.

"I'm excited now, I might get nervous closer to the game. I hope I do, if I don't get nervous coming up to a big match like this then I shouldn't be doing this job."

McCarthy was referring to Ireland's memorably un-fancied pipping of the Dutch to the second qualifying spot in their World Cup qualifying group, which also featured Portugal.

Republic of Ireland's manager Mick McCarthy pumps his fist while leaving the field after the World Cup Qualifing match against the Netherlands

With just two games to play, Ireland needed to avoid defeat against Holland to secure a place in the play-offs, and thanks to a second-half strike from Jason McAteer, they took all three points before going on to beat Iran in a two-legged play-off to reach the tournament finals in Japan and South Korea.

Ireland are currently top of their Euro 2020 qualifying group with 12 points, level with Denmark who have a game-in-hand, as do Switzerland who sit a point behind.

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Victory against the Danes would all but guarantee Ireland's progression to the finals next summer.

They would finish on 15 points, which will likely be equalled by Denmark - who will presumably beat Gibraltar at home let's be honest - but Ireland would advance due to a superior head-to-head record.

Denmark's Christian Eriksen (L) vies with Ireland's Glenn Whelan during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying football match between Denmark and Ireland in Telia Parken on June 7, 2019.

The only thing that could potentially scupper this is if the Swiss take four points from their remaining two matches. Should they do so, (again presuming Denmark beat Gibraltar) all three sides would be tied on 15 points apiece.

Should this happen, Ireland would lose out because the tie-break would then be decided by a league table between the three teams.

However, if Ireland win by two or more goals against Denmark, they'd be safe from this outcome. ... Confused? Me too.

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