Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy says a "cup final" against Denmark awaits his players after defeat to Switzerland damaged their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020.

Haris Seferovic opened the scoring before a Shane Duffy own goal secured the Swiss a 2-0 win over their 10-man opponents on Tuesday, with the visitors having Seamus Coleman sent off.

McCarthy's team remain top in Group D with Denmark level with them on points. Switzerland are a point further back but both they and the Danes have a game in hand before the final round of fixtures on November 18. 

Denmark finish up with a trip to Dublin, where they ended Ireland's 2018 World Cup hopes in the play-offs.

"We've got to play Denmark now at home," said McCarthy. "I would've taken that at the start and I'll take it now. We've still got a chance to qualify automatically."

He added: "We've got ourselves a cup final against Denmark next month and if you have handed me that before the group began, I'd have taken it."

A philosophical McCarthy had no complaints over the outcome as his team were beaten for the first time in the group, capping a disappointing few days following a 0-0 draw against Georgia.

"We were beaten by the better team, much the better team actually," he added,

"Certainly in the first half we didn't play particularly well. Whatever system we play it does not excuse our wayward passing and the stuff that we did.

"I changed it midway through the second half and that settled things down a bit. Second half we played much better. I think it was a performance that we can be proud of, certainly when the players went down to ten men. Second half, not the first half."

Midfielder Glenn Whelan admitted they gave their hosts "too much respect" in the first half in Geneva.

"We stood off them a little bit but, in the second half, we had a go and tried to get back in the game," he added.

"I think, for us, we need to do that all of the time. We show teams too much respect and then get sloppy on the ball. If we are on the front foot we will get the fans behind us and give anyone a go."

Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic praised his team's response after defeat to Denmark in their previous outing but insisted they still have much to do despite having the easiest run-in.

"It was a good performance. We had to show a reaction after losing to Denmark and that's what we did," he said.

"The result doesn't mean a lot in the group – we still need to get results in our next two games. If we get the points we need against Georgia and Gibraltar, we can turn our attentions to Euro 2020."

Ten-man Republic of Ireland missed the chance to secure Euro 2020 qualification as goals in each half earned Switzerland a 2-0 victory in Geneva.

Haris Seferovic struck after 16 minutes to throw Group D wide open, with the Swiss moving within one point of Mick McCarthy's team, who remain top, and Denmark, with the latter pair having played a game less.

Vladimir Petkovic's side also saw a Ricardo Rodríguez penalty superbly tipped onto the post by Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph with 13 minutes remaining after Seamus Coleman saw red following a handball inside the penalty area.

And Switzerland made the points certain in added time courtesy of Edimilson Fernandes on what was a night to forget for the Irish.

 

Mick McCarthy insists the Republic of Ireland's dismal goalless Euro 2020 qualifying draw away to Georgia on Saturday "is a point gained".

Ireland went into the game in Tbilisi knowing a win would have put them in pole position to qualify from Group D ahead of Switzerland and Denmark, who they face in their final two games.

They put in an insipid display, though, and never looked like claiming maximum points from a game in which they registered just three shots on target.

McCarthy was far from disappointed by his side's display, however, and is content with a result that means they remain unbeaten in their qualifying campaign.

"It's a point gained," he told RTE Sport. "They're a very good side and I don't think we've been beaten by them over 10 or 11 games.

"Had you offered me four points from two games against Georgia prior to the competition, I'd have taken it.

"We've come away from home and secured a point that's a good point in my view.

"While we'd like to be better, and we're always trying to be better, I'm happy going away with a point.

"I would imagine most people in Ireland – me, for one – would have thought if we were unbeaten at this stage and had the points we've had, I think we'd have been pleased. I certainly am."

McCarthy introduced Brighton and Hove Albion teenager Aaron Connolly for James Collins with 11 minutes remaining, and the debutant twice came close to scoring late on.

Asked if he should have brought Connolly on earlier, McCarthy said: "Possibly. Possibly. But James Collins has a right old scrap against them two [Georgia centre-backs] and we were picking bits up off him in midfield. What we didn't do is make the most of them.

"Whether Aaron could have done what James did is a different matter. But he's given me some nice headaches because he played really well."

Republic of Ireland's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 suffered a setback on Saturday as they were held to an insipid 0-0 draw away to Georgia.

Mick McCarthy's side remain top of Group D on 12 points, but failure to win in Tbilisi has given Switzerland and Denmark – who they face in their final two games – hope of reeling them in.

The visitors offered almost no attacking threat in what was a truly woeful display, with John Egan's header against the post early on their only chance of note.

Qualification is still in Ireland's hands but they will need a significantly improved performance when they travel to Switzerland on Tuesday if they are to progress to the finals next year.

Georgia dominated possession throughout the first half but were unable to test Darren Randolph in the Ireland goal.

Valeri Qazaishvili squandered their best opportunity shortly before the interval, dragging wide from 18 yards after a swift counter attack.

At the other end, Egan headed against Giorgi Loria's left-hand post after four minutes in what was the visitors' only clear sight of goal in a dire opening period.

Any hopes of an improved performance by Ireland after the break were soon dispelled, with the visitors swiftly settling back into their lacklustre rhythm.

Jeff Hendrick volleyed into the side netting from an acute angle 15 minutes from time as McCarthy's men toiled in attack once more.

Substitute Aaron Connolly fired into the side netting in stoppage time after a quick break, before Shane Duffy headed straight at the goalkeeper and Ireland fell short of what would have been an undeserved win.
 

What does it mean? Ireland's hopes in the balance

Ireland remain unbeaten after six games but this will feel like a huge opportunity missed for McCarthy and his men. A win would have meant Ireland could have settled for draws in their final group games, but this result likely makes victory necessary from at least one of their remaining matches against their closest rivals. On this evidence, that will not be an easy task.

Hendrick rises above mediocrity

The Burnley midfielder was comfortably Ireland's brightest spark. His end product was lacking but he brought an energy that was sorely missing from the majority of his team-mates.

Whelan off the pace

Glenn Whelan said this week he moved to Scottish Premiership side Hearts to give himself the best chance of playing in Euro 2020, but McCarthy will be forced to explore other midfield options if he delivers more ineffective performances like this.

What's next?

Ireland face that crunch clash with Switzerland on Tuesday, while Georgia travel to Gibraltar on the same day.

Brighton and Hove Albion forward Aaron Connolly has been added to the Republic of Ireland squad after scoring his first Premier League goals in a 3-0 win over Tottenham.

The Galway-born 19-year-old was handed his first start as Brighton went in search of their first Premier League win in six games at Amex Stadium, where Neal Maupay put the hosts in front.

Connolly then struck twice in 33 minutes as Graham Potter's side earned a memorable victory, and the teenager's performance caught the eye of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy.

Along with Blackburn Rovers defender Derrick Williams, Connolly has been added to the squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland.

McCarthy explained the addition of the pair came after Portsmouth's Ronan Curtis and Blackburn Rovers duo Greg Cunningham and Darragh Lenihan suffered injuries.

"Aaron and Derrick will join up with the squad on Sunday after injuries to Ronan, Greg and Darragh," said McCarthy.

"I have spoken to Aaron and Derrick and they are looking forward to meeting up with us. Aaron enjoyed his full debut for Brighton and we have been keeping a close eye on his progress this season.

"Derrick was in the extended 41-man squad for these games and playing regularly for Blackburn so this is his chance now."

Connolly, who has represented Ireland at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level, will travel to Tbilisi with the senior squad on Thursday ahead of Saturday's clash with Georgia.

Republic of Ireland coach Mick McCarthy has ruled out staying on beyond Euro 2020 despite an impressive run of results since being reappointed.

McCarthy replaced Martin O'Neill in charge of Ireland in November 2018 for his second spell, having managed the country between 1996 and 2002.

Ireland clinched a 3-1 friendly win over Bulgaria in Dublin on Tuesday which ensured McCarthy is unbeaten in eight matches, with the country also top of Group D in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The Football Association of Ireland's plan is for McCarthy, 60, to hand over the reins to Under-21 coach Stephen Kenny when his tenure comes to an end after Euro 2020.

And when asked if there was a chance his contract would be extended if Ireland were to qualify for the tournament, McCarthy responded with an emphatic "no" and then refused to be drawn much further on the subject.

"You know the situation. I've just said no," McCarthy said.

"Hopefully we qualify for the Euros and it [the succession plan] will be seen as a really good decision."

McCarthy gave five players their international debuts against Bulgaria.

Goalkeeper Mark Travers and midfielder Josh Cullen started, while Jack Byrne, striker James Collins and shot-stopper Kieran O'Hara all came on during the second half.

 

Ireland secured victory thanks to first international goals from Alan Browne, Kevin Long and Collins, which left McCarthy satisfied.

"Ultimately the result pleased me the most," McCarthy said. "Josh Cullen deserved man of the match – he was excellent. 

"Alan Browne was also excellent. I loved James Collins' performance when he came on. Jack Byrne lit the place up with his forward passing and created two goals."

McCarthy also revealed he will ask left-back Stephen Ward to come out of international retirement for their crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia next month.

Ward, 34, retired from Ireland duty in March after he won 50 caps and represented his country at both Euro 2012 and 2016.

However, with first-choice left-back Enda Stevens suspended for Ireland's trip to Georgia, McCarthy will ask the Stoke City defender to step in.

"Stephen might tell me to get lost and he is retired," added McCarthy, who used midfielder Conor Hourihane at left-back against Bulgaria.

"But if I want him, he might just put his boots on one more time.

"James McClean is probably one of the best options if I don't have a recognised left-back.

"Hourihane had no chance at left-back ever. I played him to give him 65 minutes."

Alan Browne, Kevin Long and James Collins all scored their first international goals as Republic of Ireland eased to a 3-1 friendly win over Bulgaria.

In a match where all the goals came in the second half, Browne put Ireland ahead when he slotted into an empty net after Ronan Curtis' initial shot was spilled.

Bulgaria equalised through Ivelin Popov's spot-kick after John Egan, who captained Ireland for the first time, gave away a penalty.

But a Long header and a close-range finish from Collins gave the hosts a comfortable victory in Dublin.

The result means Ireland remain unbeaten in Mick McCarthy's second stint as manager.

McCarthy made 10 changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their last Euro 2020 qualifier and awarded first caps to five players.

Goalkeeper Mark Travers and midfielder Josh Cullen started while midfielder Jack Byrne, striker Collins and goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara all came on in the second half.

A low-key first half saw just one attempt on target from both sides with Bulgaria posing the greatest threat from set-piece situations.

The home side took the lead 11 minutes into the second half when Curtis' long-range strike was fumbled by Hristo Ivanov and Browne tapped home.

Bulgaria equalised from the penalty spot after Cyrus Christie got himself in a tangle and Egan brought down Bozhidar Kraev.

Popov confidently struck his effort high into the net, giving Travers no chance. However, Ireland rallied and sealed the victory with two late goals from substitutes.

Long headed in Byrne's corner and then Enda Stevens' low cross was turned in by the sliding Collins.

 

What does it mean? After eight for McCarthy 

After a dramatic late equaliser against Switzerland, this match might have been something of an anti-climax for Ireland.

Against a Bulgaria side who have not won a game for 11 months, Ireland were typically disciplined before a late flourish put a gloss on the scoreline.

McCarthy will be happy he got the chance to take a look at some players on the fringes of his squad and increased his unbeaten run since returning to manage Ireland to eight games.

Hourihane comfortable at left-back

With Stevens suspended for next month's qualifier in Georgia, McCarthy switched Conor Hourihane from midfield to left-back. The Aston Villa man slotted into the position with ease which solves one of McCarthy's selection worries for the trip to Tbilisi.

Ivanov's international career over after one cap?

Journeyman Bulgaria goalkeeper Ivanov won his first cap at the age of 37, but it may well prove to be his only appearance. The grey-haired shotstopper should have saved Curtis' initial shot which allowed Browne to score and flapped at a cross for Long's header.


What's next?

Ireland travel to Georgia for a crunch Euro 2020 Group D qualifier on Saturday 12 October and then face Switzerland the following Tuesday

Bulgaria are also in qualification action with an away trip to Montenegro in Group A on Friday 11 October before hosting England in Sofia three days later.

Declan Rice says he and his family have been subjected to threats on social media following his decision to represent England rather than the Republic of Ireland.

The West Ham midfielder, 20, earned three caps for Ireland but, due to those being in friendlies, was able to switch allegiance to the Three Lions earlier this year.

Rice, who won his fourth cap under Gareth Southgate in Saturday's 4-0 win over Bulgaria, was born in London, yet he revealed his change of heart led to unsavoury online abuse being directed towards him and his family.

"Yeah, I've had a few bad bits," he told ITV News. "I've had people saying they're going to come to my house…yeah, online.

"There's a few bits I could go into, but I don't need to go into it, threats to my family, threats to me.

"You click on their profile and they'd just be a fake profile, so I don't know whether it's true or not.

"It was tough, there has been some abuse, it was more for my mum and dad really. They were more worried about me than anyone else

"But do you know what? I know, thinking about it now, I was never actually scared about it, because always fans are going to be giving me abuse and whatnot over it. You just kind of look at it and laugh, you think, 'Yeah, all right, as if you're going to come and do that type of thing'.

"It was tough, there has been some abuse, it was more for my mum and dad really.

"They were more worried about me than anyone else, I was always quite strong minded.

"My mum obviously with me being her youngest, she was always a bit worried. Other than that, I don't take any notice of it. I just try to keep focused."

David McGoldrick headed a late equaliser to extend the Republic of Ireland's unbeaten start to Euro 2020 qualifying as they snatched a 1-1 home draw against Switzerland.

Ireland were heading for a first defeat of the campaign in their fifth outing when Fabian Schar struck 16 minutes from time in Thursday's Group D clash at the Aviva Stadium.

But McGoldrick found a way through at the other end in the 85th minute to earn his side a share of the spoils from their only on-target attempt of the second half.

The result could prove to be crucial for Mick McCarthy's side as it keeps them six points in front of Switzerland, who are also unbeaten and have two games in hand over the leaders.

Harry Arter is targeting promotion back to the Premier League with Fulham after joining the Cottagers on loan from Bournemouth.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder has stepped down from the top flight to spend the season with Fulham, who are managed by his brother-in-law Scott Parker.

It will become a permanent deal if "performance-related criteria" are met, Bournemouth announced.

Arter, 29, played over 250 games for Bournemouth across eight seasons before spending the 2018-19 campaign on loan at Premier League rivals Cardiff, who were relegated on the penultimate weekend.

He joins a Fulham team who suffered a dismal campaign in the top tier last term, never looking capable of surviving after coming up through the play-offs.

Arter told fulhamfc.com: "The club's ambition to get straight back into the Premier League was something that definitely attracted me. The manager, I knew he really wanted me at the club.

"From the owner down to all the staff it's clear that the target is to get promoted this year. It's a challenge I want to be part of and I'm really looking forward to it."

The former Charlton youth player, who grew up in south-east London, added: "It's a great move for me for family reasons. I've always had a desire to play for a club in London. Ever since Scott signed here five or six years ago I've always come and watched Fulham and it's great to be part of the club."

Sheffield United have broken the club's transfer record to land striker Callum Robinson from Preston North End.

The Blades are reported to have spent £8million on the Republic of Ireland international, who has signed a four-year deal.

It is the second time this month United have paid out a club record fee ahead of their Premier League return.

Luke Freeman joined from Queens Park Rangers for a reported £5m, while manager Chris Wilder has also agreed a new contract.

"Callum fits into our structure perfectly as we look to Championship players who we feel can be successful at Premier League level," Wilder said of 24-year-old Robinson.

"Callum is someone who was on our radar a number of years ago and he has progressed how we thought he would and hopefully there is plenty more to come.

"I feel Callum is a great age and what we have paid represents great value in the current market."

Robinson hit 12 goals in 27 Championship appearances for PNE last term.

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