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Denmark in focus

The Republic of Ireland have been drawn against Denmark in the play-offs for next summer's World Cup.

Martin O'Neill's side avoided the likes of Italy and Switzerland to land the lowest-ranked seeded nation in Tuesday's draw after a 1-0 win in Wales last week secured second spot in Group D.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the Republic's forthcoming opposition in greater detail ahead of November's matches.

PREVIOUS WORLD CUP FINALS APPEARANCES: Four

Denmark have been to one more World Cup than their play-off opponents so the history books are fairly evenly-matched. Both reached the round-of-16 stage at the 2002 finals in Japan and South Korea, England beating Denmark 3-0 as the Republic lost on penalties to Spain. While that was the Republic's last World Cup appearance, Denmark appeared at the 2010 tournament but failed to get out of the group stages.

2018 QUALIFICATION RECORD: P:10 W:6 D:2 L:2 F:20 A:8 Pts: 20

Age Hareide's Denmark ended their Group E qualification campaign behind Poland, having amassed 20 points - one more than the Republic managed. The Danes lost in Poland and were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home to Montenegro last October. Their 4-0 victory over the Poles last month shows that, on their day, they can be a tough opponent.

PREVIOUS WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION PLAY-OFFS: None

Denmark have only ever appeared in play-offs for European Championships, losing to Sweden in 2016 and thrashing Israel to reach Euro 2000. In contrast, this will be the Republic's eighth appearance in either a World Cup or European Championship play-off - and that is a record. O'Neill has already called on his side to tap into that experience to help them book a place in December's World Cup draw.

STAR MAN: Christian Eriksen

Eriksen makes things tick for the Euro 92 winners just as he does for Tottenham. The 25-year-old is Denmark's top goalscorer throughout the qualification process to date, racking up an impressive eight goals. Keeping Eriksen quiet is likely to be key for the Republic if they are to see off Denmark and make it to a fourth World Cup.

PREMIER LEAGUE CONTINGENT IN LAST SQUAD: Five

Eriksen was joined in Denmark's squad to face Montenegro and Romania by a quartet of Premier League talent. Leicester goalkeeper and Premier League winner Kasper Schmeichel is also first-choice for his country, with Huddersfield's Jonas Lossl in reserve. Lossl's club-mate Mathias Jorgensen was also involved as was Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen. Brentford duo Andreas Bjelland and Henrik Dalsgaard were picked, along with with former Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner.

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