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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Denmark boss Age Hareide thanks Ireland 'for giving us space'

Denmark manager Age Hareide thanked Republic of Ireland for giving his side, and in particular matchwinner Christian Eriksen, the space within which to thrive.

Eriksen hit a hat trick as Denmark ran out 5-1 winners in a World Cup playoff second leg in Dublin on Tuesday to qualify for the finals in Russia next summer after a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Parken.

And Hareide had a message for Ireland after the match as he praised Eriksen for his contribution.

He said: "Just to say, 'Thank you very much for giving us space,' because they locked us down in Parken very well and Eriksen was very much out of the game and today he was fantastic.

"He's a fantastic player on the ball and he works hard for the team all the time so he's an inspiration for all the lads around him. If you give him the ball, something happens, and I think that's the difference between the sides."

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Hareide hailed his side's character to fight back after going a goal behind, saying: "Belief is very important in football and the lads stuck together and gave a fantastic performance today in a very difficult game.

"It was very good. Especially when we came from behind, 1-0. They tried to play and got the opening and [we] got the goals and were more effective than we were in Parken and the effectiveness is very important for the football so I'm very, very pleased for the team and their performance as well.

"This is a very difficult place to play football because they're compact and good defensively so scoring five goals against Ireland, it doesn't happen very often.

"I was surprised really because I think they played in a diamond -- the midfield -- with two forwards, and our centre-halves can handle two forwards, but that gave a lot of space in centre midfield for Eriksen."

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