Martin O'Neill says Republic of Ireland reaching World Cup would be 'something else'
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 11/11/17 8:22pm
Martin O'Neill says reaching next year's World Cup finals would be up there with his greatest achievements as Republic of Ireland manager.
The Republic face Denmark in Copenhagen on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm, in the first leg of their play-off for a place at next year's tournament in Russia.
O'Neill guided the team to the last 16 of the European Championships last year - beating Italy in the group stage before losing to hosts France in the knockout stage, but he says reaching the World Cup is something else
Speaking ahead of Saturday's match, O'Neill said: "It is a great game for us, it is obviously the same for Denmark. As far as we are concerned qualifying for the Euros was a great achievement for us and I thought that some of the performances in France were great.
"Getting there is big but the World Cup is something else so if we could make it, it would be fantastic and I think obviously our opponents would feel exactly the same."
The Republic finished second in their qualifying group after defeating Wales in Cardiff last month.
O'Neill is proud of his current crop of players but is under illusions about the challenge that lies ahead.
"We take our position here on merit," he added. "I think that is the point so we've got to go again. I don't think for one minute in all seriousness that the players think that this game is anything but difficult, of course it is, a really difficult game.
"They've got some excellent players who can cause a lot of problems, [Christian] Eriksen has been playing fantastic football now for about 16 months but he's not the only Danish player that can play.
"They've got some really good players but so have we and we are going to try and play to our strengths.
"We are going to try and play strongly, we will have to defend properly when it comes to it and we are going to have to take our chances.
"That's what we are going to have to do over the two legs and if we do we will give ourselves a chance we hope."