Seamus Coleman watched on as Republic of Ireland
’s World Cup dream came to an end with a thumping 5-1 defeat against Denmark in Dublin.
Ireland, who were missing skipper Coleman and his Everton teammate James McCarthy through injury, were looking to book their place at next summer’s tournament in Russia after holding Åge Hareide’s side to a goalless draw in the first leg of their qualifier on Saturday.
However, after taking an early lead through former Toffees defender Shane Duffy, Martin O’Neill’s men suffered a devastating collapse.
Middlesbrough defender Cyrus Christie’s own goal levelled the scores on the half-hour mark, before Christian Eriksen brilliantly fired the Danes in front.
The Tottenham midfielder then added a stunning second, before completing his hat-trick to extinguish any lingering Irish hopes. Former Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner completed the scoring from the penalty spot in the final minute.
Elsewhere, Idrissa Gana Gueye played the full 90 minutes as Senegal maintained their unbeaten record in CAF qualification Group D.
The Lions of Teranga were already assured of their place in Russia but overcame South Africa in their final game with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Metz forward Opa Nguette and Anderlecht defender Kara Mbodji.
In Doha, Gylfi Sigurdsson played the full match and captained Iceland as they conceded late on in a 1-1 friendly draw with Qatar, while Kevin Mirallas stepped off the bench on the hour in Bruges and was on the pitch when former Everton striker Romelu Lukaku netted the only goal of Belgium’s meeting with Japan.
At Wembley, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford were unused substitutes as England played out a goalless draw with Brazil, while Ashley Williams remained on the bench as Wales drew 1-1 with Panama in Cardiff.
Earlier in the day, Morgan Feeney and Dennis Adeniran helped England Under-19s make it three wins from three in European Championship qualifying with a 1-0 triumph over Bulgaria.
Feeney played the full contest and Adeniran came on for the final 21 minutes as the Young Lions topped their group, having already guaranteed their place in the Elite Round with victories over Faroe Islands and Iceland. Fraser Hornby’s Scotland Under-19s also progressed despite slipping to a 1-0 defeat against Czech Republic in their final group fixture.
Harry Charsley played the full 90 as Republic of Ireland’s unbeaten start in qualifying for the Under-21 European Championship came to an end with a 2-1 reverse in Norway, while Nathan Broadhead’s Wales Under-21s were held to a goalless draw by Romania in Bangor.