It was the night when Christian Eriksen made one of the grandest statements of his career. Denmark needed him to perform in the World Cup playoff second leg against the Republic of Ireland – and how he answered the call.
The article in The Irish Times talks about the midfielder’s “sumptuous” hat-trick in Dublin that culminated in a 5-1 win, and qualification to the finals in Russia next summer and a wave of superlatives – the most headline-grabbing of which was from his international manager, Age Hareide, who the article says described him as one of the top 10 players in the world.
The article goes on to say that it is a measure of the pace of modern football, together with its wild extremes, that – seven days on and in the lead-up to our Champions League Group H tie at Borussia Dortmund Eriksen should talk of rather different emotions adding that the 2-0 defeat against Arsenal in the north London derby at the Emirates Stadium on -Saturday has seen to that.
It continues that rather abruptly, he has felt the pedestal swept from underneath him however he is fired up to prove himself once again.
“It’s probably good that we have a game so quickly after the derby and you can have a bit of revenge, you can show the world that you are a bit better than what you saw on Saturday,” Eriksen said. “When you get a knock on the head, you’re going to lie down but we need to come back.
He added “Getting your country to the World Cup is something that you don’t do often and it was very exciting. The game on Saturday was a big difference – a big blow compared to what happened last Tuesday. There was a high and a low and a big gap in between.”
The article continues, saying how Eriksen went to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as an 18-year-old prospect and he came on twice as a substitute; the second of his appearances was in the do-or-die final group game against Japan when Denmark did not do, and died. This time, he will be the talisman of Hareide’s team; the player who will shoulder the hopes of a nation.
“What the manager said after the Ireland game was a big compliment but – talking to the media after a game like that – you put your players anywhere,” Eriksen said. “I think I’ve kicked on over the last few years as opposed to just the last 12 months. I’ve shown more consistency. The whole Spurs team have shown incredible improvements.”
It describes how there are numerous barometers of Spurs progress. This time last year, Tottenham lost 2-1 at Monaco in their penultimate Champions League group phase tie to exit the competition but how now we have qualified for the last 16 after four games and the talk is about what it would mean if they were to top the section.
Its then added how two seasons ago we came to Dortmund in the last 16 of the Europa League and, with an understrength team, we were soundly beaten 3-0. It adds that occasion feels as though it was taken from another era. It also felt instructive that Mauricio Pochettino’s team had been the pre-derby favourites on Saturday, even if we failed to live up to the billing.
“The expectation now is that we win the Champions League and Premier League, and I am happy with the pressure and the criticism,” Pochettino said. “It means that people expect more of us. We know very well we have improved in every single aspect.”
Eriksen said: “People looked at our group at the start with Real Madrid and Dortmund and said that we’re going to have a tough time and end up in the Europa League. But we’ve shown that we’re better than that and we can compete in the Champions League.”
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