Group D round-up: The Republic of Ireland remain top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group D with three games to go after Denmark failed to break down Georgia in Tbilisi. Mick McCarthy’s side will go to Georgia on October 12th with a two point lead over Denmark and the same games played while Switzerland sit a further point behind with a game in hand.
One the same night Ireland meet Georgia, Switzerland take on Denmark in Copenhagen before Ireland travel to Geneva to take on Switzerland three days later. The final match for Mick McCarthy’s side sees them welcome Denmark to Dublin for what could be a win-or-bust clash. Sunday’s result in Tbilisi – coupled with Switzerland’s routine 4-0 win over Gibraltar – leaves Group D wide open and means that five points from Ireland’s final three games could well be enough to book a spot at Euro 2020.
Denmark were frustrated by Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Loria and the woodwork in Tbilisi. Loria twice denied Martin Braithwaite with fingertip saves as Denmark dominated the first half. Valeri Qazaishvili had Georgia’s best effort with a long-range shot which flew narrowly wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s right-hand post in the 76th minute.
Denmark substitute Christian Gytkjaer cracked a shot against the crossbar with Loria beaten in the 82nd minute but, despite 59 percent of possession, they created few openings and had to settle for a point.
Switzerland took 37 minutes to break down a stubborn Gibraltar side before easing to a 4-0 win. Edimilson Fernandes was close twice early on for Switzerland and Loris Benito rattled the woodwork before Gibraltar were forced to change goalkeepers in the 23rd minute as Dayle Coleing went off injured to be replaced by Kyle Goldwin.
The Gibraltar defence still held firm until Denis Zakaria nodded in from a corner in the 37th minute. Admir Mehmedi added the second with another header, from a Fabian Schaer cross, in the 43rd minute and Ricardo Rodriguez fired home the third in first-half stoppage time after the ball pinged around the Gibraltar area.
Granit Xhaka had several attempts to get on the scoresheet after the break, with one effort well saved by Goldwin. The Swiss had to be content with one more goal three minutes for the end when Mehmedi’s shot hit a defender and rebounded to Mario Gavranovic who dispatched the ball into the net.