Belfast Telegraph

Coleman's pain will fire the Republic up: Stevens

 

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By Damian Spellman

Enda Stevens has challenged the Republic of Ireland to keep skipper Seamus Coleman's Euro 2020 dream alive in his absence when they face Denmark in a winner-takes-all shoot-out next month.

The Republic will lower the curtain on their Group D campaign against familiar foes at the Aviva Stadium on a night when victory would send them to the finals.

However, they will have to achieve it without 31-year-old Everton full-back Coleman, who will be suspended following his dismissal in Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat in Switzerland.

Asked if that could provide added motivation, Stevens said: "Yes, that's what we've got to do, we've got to do it for each other.

"Seamus is so disappointed in there, but he'll be the one giving us a pat on the back now against Denmark and he'll be still leading the line for us.

"He'll be cheering us on and giving us that confidence to go out and perform."

The game will be the sixth meeting between the sides in two years, a run of fixtures which has resulted to date in four draws and a thumping 5-1 World Cup qualifier victory for the Danes in Dublin.

That has to change this time around if the Republic are to progress and Sheffield United defender Stevens, who returned from a suspension of his own in Geneva after losing his ever-present tag for the campaign in Georgia three days earlier, is in no mood to pass up that chance.

He said: "They (Switzerland) were saying it was a cup final for them, we said it was a cup final for us. Fortunately we've got another cup final now next.

"We would have taken one win out of two games gets you to the Euros, so we've got to look forward to that, and especially being at home in the Aviva Stadium.

"Hopefully we can really knuckle down and get the three points that we need."

Meanwhile, Shane Duffy is confident his side have put their World Cup nightmare at the hands of Denmark firmly behind them.

The Brighton defender, who opened the scoring in that 5-1 loss and was also on target in Copenhagen earlier in this campaign, said: "We've moved on from that now. We're a different team, a different manager, so hopefully we'll go there and we're quite confident in front of our home fans. One more final game at home and we know if we win, we're there.

"It's a tough group. I always have high standards and wanted to win (on Tuesday) and get through, but it's not the case.

"We know it was quite a tough group and the three teams were going to be battling for the two (places). At least we're in with a chance and I think we can do it.

"We've been up and down. Obviously we've been getting the results, but I think we've got more quality in us, so hopefully at the Aviva, we can get it rocking and finally beat Denmark.

"A little bit of revenge, hopefully."

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