Sky Sports pundit Keith Andrews was left aghast by the tactics used during the Republic of Ireland’s 5-1 loss to Denmark.
The former Republic of Ireland international was highly critical of manager Martin O’Neill who selected a diamond formation against Denmark, a change from his defensive five-man midfield which played in Copenhagen on Saturday.
The hosts were very open at the Aviva Stadium, easily succumbing to the majesty of Christian Eriksen, who was afforded the luxury of space for each of his three goals.
Along with the amount of room on offer to the opposition, Andrews was surprised by the substitutions made by O’Neill with his side losing 2-1 at the break when central midfielders Harry Arter and David Meyler were withdrawn, to be replaced by Aiden McGeady and Wes Hoolahan.
That half was pure torture, I cannot believe what I’ve witnessed tonight, Andrews told Sky Sports.
I’ve just witnessed gung-ho football.
I thought the first-half was silly how we set up, but what we did [with the subs] at half-time we were trying to work out who was going to play where.
Clueless. Absolutely clueless. To allow the players like they have the space, the time, in the key areas of the pitch, even the substitutions, Ciaran Clark coming off – unless he’s injured – with Ward going to centre-half, I really don’t know what I’ve witnessed.
No holding midfielder, lack of cohesion. It was gung-ho football and there was only going to be one winner.
Republic boss Martin O’Neill shrugged off questions about his tactics, admitting Denmark were the better team on the night, but Andrews raised questions about the space afforded to Eriksen and his team-mates, considering the compact nature of O’Neill’s side in Copenhagen on Saturday when they earned a goalless draw.
We highlighted Eriksen as the key player on Saturday and we sang the praises of the staff and players for marshalling him and to witness what we just seen here beggar’s belief, he added.
They were craving space to play in, we shut up shop on Saturday and were so impressive defensively and tonight were so clueless. It hurt me watching that.