A cold wind is blowing on Martin O'Neill and Republic of Ireland
Nations League Group B: Denmark v Republic of Ireland (tonight, Aarhus, 7.45pm)
THERE’S a cold wind blowing through the streets of Aarhus – the kind of which would cut you in two.
There is also an autumnal gloom that has gripped Martin O’Neill’s managerial tenure with the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish round off a miserable 2018 with their final group game of the Nations League against Denmark.
The Danes have already topped Group B and the Irish are relegated in Uefa’s back door route to Euro 2020.
Pressure is on O’Neill to squeeze something better out of the current crop of players in Aarhus tonight after a string of displays that would put you off football for life.
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They haven't mustered a goal in three games and boast just one win in 10. Contrast that with the Danes who have blossomed under the wily Age Hareide, particularly since that unforgettable 5-1 mauling of the Republic in Dublin last November.
At last night’s press conference, held in a gym hall at the Ceres Stadium, O’Neill was asked did he feel his €2m per year position was under threat.
“The question was asked a number of times and it’s the same answer,” the Kilrea man answered calmly.
“You’re in a job that you’re constantly under pressure. That’s the nature of the game. We just need to win some football matches whether they’re friendly matches or not.”
O’Neill didn’t defend his 2018 record of played eight, won one – but did add he wasn’t in the business of selecting weak nations to play against in order to boost the team’s stats.
“If we were looking to try and put together decent stats I think we wouldn’t have chosen Turkey, away, Poland, away, and France, who went on to win the World Cup…”
With Euro 2020 beginning “in earnest” next March, O’Neill and the Republic of Ireland will want to end a forgettable year on a positive note in chilly Aarhus - but the cold wind will keep blowing well into 2019.