Christian Eriksen made it a night to forget for the Republic of Ireland, whose dreams of qualifying for the World Cup were dashed by the demigod Dane’s hat-trick heroics.
It was an evening of international football that will be eternalized in Danish folklore after Tottenham’s midfield maestro enjoyed his most prodigious performance, both for club and country.
While constantly creative, threatening and dangerous in the center of Tottenham’s midfield, Eriksen has never been so magisterial, almost demigod-like in dispatching a team and country in such a merciless way.
While scoring a hat-trick at any level is no simple task, more impressive is the stage on which he pulled it off. Ireland took the lead in the sixth minute from a Shane Duffy finish before Andreas Christensen equalized in the 29th. Eriksen then put Denmark on his shoulders, scoring three unanswered goals less than 40 minutes apart.
Ireland’s fortitude and resilience gave them a chance to pull off the unlikely upset. The difference in class, however, shone through, the cream eventually rising to the top. International football matches are parity-laden, won and lost by the slimmest of margins.
Those tiny winning margins usually come down to a moment of pure class. A single magical moment wasn’t enough for Eriksen, who was clearly unaffected by the grandeur of the occasion.
The 25-year-old looked like he was enjoying a recreational kickabout at Spurs training ground on Hotspur Way, such was the impressiveness of a performance most players don’t experience in an entire career. And all of it coming on the road, in a particularly hostile environment.
I won’t be surprised to see Eriksen’s profile – and market value – skyrocketed after last night’s fairytale display. He has propelled himself into an unfamiliar, and unachievable, world for most, one defined by improbable feats of perfection. Few players can relate to how Eriksen feels today, among them another Spurs legend, Gareth Bale.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo also deserve the plaudits that come with lifting an entire country to new heights, taking their rightful place as national heroes. But unlike Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic, Eriksen is humble and virtuous, forever placing his team’s wellbeing ahead of his own.
Football ability aside, it’s the reason he’s so beloved on the white side of North London.
In the aftermath of the defeat, Republic of Ireland bench boss paid homage to Tottenham’s star.
"“We were beaten by a side that was better than us and has a world-class player in the team, who was absolutely magnificent. Eriksen is top class and he showed it.”"
All of this bodes extremely well for Spurs ahead of their most important fixture of the Premier League season. Eriksen is clearly walking on air, his confidence on par with Achilles after becoming the hero of the Trojan War.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dane forgoes flying back to London on a commercial airliner, instead spreading his wings, once again taking matters into his own hands, or feet, depending on the situation.
The appendage in question matters not for Eriksen, whose larger-than-life figure will be haunting anyone associated with Arsenal Football Club in the coming days.