Martin O’Neill defends his team’s style ahead of tonight’s play-off

Republic of Ireland boss, Martin O’Neill, has come to the defence of his side as they prepare for their World Cup play-off second leg against Denmark. Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, O’Neill dismissed claims that his side were guilty of parking the bus in the first leg.

 

Saturday’s game in Copenhagen ended in a goalless draw. Talking to the media ahead of tonight’s kick-off at the Aviva Stadium, O’Neill said: “It would be lovely to have a prolific goalscorer in the side. If you don’t have that, then you have to try to find other ways.”

 

Denmark midfielder, Thomas Delaney, described attempting to break Ireland down like trying to “open a can of baked beans with your bare hands”. Middlesbrough keeper, Darren Randolph, impressed in the opening leg as he made countless saves to keep his side in the game.

 

A defiant O’Neill insisted he is simply working with what he’s got in terms of selection: “That is what we have been trying to do, we have been trying to find ways for the last couple of years to win matches when we don’t maybe possess that [goalscorer].”

 

Hull City’s, David Meyler, returns to the Republic of Ireland side tonight after missing the match at the weekend through suspension. O’Neill will be hoping Meyler can hold the midfield and let Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick push forward. The manager will have to decide whether to stick with Daryl Murphy upfront or bring in Southampton’s Shane Long. James McClean will also be hoping to get the nod. He was ROI’s last goal scorer, getting a vital winner over Wales to put O’Neill’s men through.

 

Republic of Ireland vs. Denmark kicks off at 19.45 this evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 ways to add Hygge to your life this Winter

As the nights lengthen and colder weather sneaks in around us, it’s not unusual to feel a little down, grey and flat. However, this winter it is time we turn to our Danish neighbours for some advice on how to embrace their concept of Hygge. Pronounced (hoo-guh), it incorporates embracing the small things and creating a safe space to relax.

 

The Scandinavian lifestyle is one that we could all do with embracing, with Denmark being ranked as the happiest nation in 2016. Coming 1st out of 156 countries, residents said it was because they had ‘no worries’, so we took some tips on how this chilled out nation de-stresses.

 

1. Candles Candles Candles

Picking the right candle is essential for creating the right mood. Source: Google

 

It is impossible to have Hygge without candles. If you want to create instant intimacy and ambience, a few candles and tea lights scattered about gives a more chilled and subtle lighting, instantly making you take a deep breath and chill out. Picking the right scent is also important. Everyone is particular with what kind of candle they love to light – but the more mellow and soft, the more relaxed the scent swirling around the room. For example, here are a few calming winter candles that will instantly set the mood. 

 

2. Fairy light up your life

A cosy setting is needed for Hygge. Source: Google

 

If candles are a fire hazard for you, or just too much effort, get yourself to a discount store or bargain shop and stock up on these twinkling little gems. Whether its waterfall lights draped behind your bed or long strands pinned around the walls in your lounge, it instantly draws the room in and takes away the need to pop on bigger, harsher lights. Hygge is all about creating warmth  and the effect fairy lights can give is exactly that.

 

3. Big Chunky wools and knits

Winter woolies are perfect for a cosy night in. Source: Google

Danish and Scandinavian style is renowned for its simplicity and beauty. Furnishings have a minimalist and neutral tone to them, with muted colours and elegance. There is no need to go over the top, and a few classic attributes instantly can transform your room into a relaxed Hygge haven. For example, chunky wools and knits like these cushions and blankets will make a space feel extra cosy without it looking brash or bold.

 

4. Get some friends round

An important part of Hygge is spending time with your loved ones. Source: Google

One of the most common descriptions of Hygge is ‘building a sanctuary and community’. So once you have built your little sanctuary and its glowing with all those candles you have lit, why not invite a few friends round to enjoy it with you? Hygge is also about embracing the small moments and making the most of it, so there is no need for fancy plans. Ideas as small as:

-A couple of beers and some card games

-A hot drink and a gossip

-A glass of wine and a film

-Some cosy socks and a nap

 

5. Just relax

Take time to yourself and appreciate your surroundings. Source: Google

 

To create your own well being, you need to be relaxed. So once you have made your space somewhere to enjoy, it is important to learn how to leave all the stresses of winter at the door, take a deep breath and enjoy what you have around you. If you struggle to switch off, why not try listening to relaxing music or a podcast, getting lost in a book, or treating yourself to a pamper evening.

 

And there you have it, a few simple tips that can change your attitude towards stress and appreciate what you have around you. So good luck, or ‘held og lykke’ as the Danes would say, and let a little Hygge in your life this winter.

 

European qualifier roundup

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Photo courtesy of Pelle T Nilsson/Flickr

Tuesday night’s final round of European Championship qualifiers saw Ukraine and Sweden join the pool for next year’s competition.

A Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace saw Sweden hold Denmark to a draw in Copenhagen, with the Swedes qualifying 4-3 on aggregate.

Imbrahimovic hit back at critics after announcing he could retire after next years competition in France.

“They said they were going to send me to retirement, I sent their whole nation into retirement.”

Having caused controversy late last week by claiming he had “put Sweden on the world footballing map”, the 34-year old silenced the crowd twice, with a scrappy finish from a corner in the 19th minute.

The pick of the bunch on the night came in the 76th minute however, when Ibrahimovic scored his second with a curling 25-yard free-kick.

Goals for Denmark came late on with Christian Poulsen and Jannik Vestergaard scoring in the 81st and 90th minutes respectively.

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Ukraine qualify for the 2016 European Championships, photo courtesy of Firsikov/Flickr

 

Elsewhere, in Slovenia, Ukraine held the hosts to a 1-1 draw, which sees the Eastern European nation reach its first European Championship through the qualification stage.

The side had previously qualified automatically when they co-hosted the tournament with Poland in 2012.

Having won 2-0 in the first leg, Ukraine were in high spirits when travelling to Maribor.

Slovenia took the lead early on, with an 11th minute strike from captain Bostjan Cesar. The home side continued to apply pressure throughout the game, but found it difficult to create chances.

Cesar was denied in the 74th minute with a superb save from the away side goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

Despite maintaining possession and pressing Ukraine to the limit, the game was all but done in the 90th minute when Andriy Yarolenko secured Ukraine’s spot at the Euro’s from a fantastic counter-attacking move.

Slovenia right-back Miso Brecko was sent off for a high footed challenge during injury time, which all in all rounded off a disappointing night for the home side.

 

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