New Delhi: Denmark booked their place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a brilliant and devastating display of attacking football in the second match of their play-off against Ireland on Tuesday. Christian Eriksen was the hero for the Danes scoring a superb hat-trick to propel his team on to the biggest stage of football with a resounding 5-1 win over Ireland after the first leg had finished 0-0.

Ireland were found wanting in every department and Denmark exploited every weakness of their rival brutally to book their place among the 32 teams in Russia. But it was the Ireland team which took the lead in Dublin just the sixth minute of the play-off when Shane Duffy headed past the Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

It was the only moment of joy for Ireland as the Danes, led by Eriksen, took over the match. Playing deep in the Ireland half, Eriksen made life tough for Ireland midfield and defence. Finding gaps at will, the Danes made Ireland players run around in circles.

Luck played its part in the first Denmark goal when Andreas Christensen’s shot off a corner hit the Ireland goalpost but then went over the line off Cyrus Christie for an own goal to tie the match 1-1.

After that, it was an Eriksen show with the Tottenham star netting three goal. His first came off a brilliant and fast counter-attack in the 32nd minute when he fired a shot from the edge of the Irish penalty area to put the visitors ahead. The score stayed 2-1 in Denmark favour at half-time but the home side had no clue what was in story in the second half.