Danes' hopes on Eriksen

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November 09, 2017

THE game plan is basic, yet perfectly understandable. And Denmark coach Age Hareide has no problem sharing it ahead of his team's World Cup play-off against Ireland.

"When we get the ball," he said, "the first thing we do is to look for Christian."

Once again, Christian Eriksen is carrying the hopes of a nation as Denmark looks to qualify for their first major tournament since 2012. He's used to it by now.

The international retirement of the Laudrup brothers, Michael and Brian, after the 1998 World Cup, left a void in Danish football that wasn't properly filled until the emergence of a slight, technically gifted playmaker, who started making a name for himself in the Ajax youth team in 2008.

At that stage, Eriksen still only 16 was being talked up as a future star, having already had trials at AC Milan, Chelsea and Barcelona. He played his first game for Denmark in March 2010, was the youngest player at the World Cup a few months later, and within a year was the chief playmaker in Ajax's title-winning team in the Dutch league.

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