Denmark were drawing 1-1 with Ireland in the second leg of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification play-off when Tottenham's Eriksen whirred to life on Tuesday evening. One goal in the first half and then two after the break put the match to bed and sent Denmark hurtling into the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The first strike was probably the best, moving as the third man in a counter-attack Eriksen received a square pass from Nicolai Jorgensen and then from the top of the box absolutely belted the ball into the back of the net (off the crossbar, no less!)
His second goal was a more measured strike with his left, when Ireland bafflingly failed to mark him and he bent it in from the edge of the box. His third goal was the most emphatic, with the ball spinning loose in the Ireland area, he reacted first and thundered the ball into the roof of the net to kill the game.
Three swings of his boot, three brilliant goals. That gave him 11 in total for World Cup qualification; only Robert Lewandowski, Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, Ahmed Khalil and Cristiano Ronaldo had more. Eriksen also registered 3 assists for a total direct goal involvement of 14. From midfield. For an average Denmark side.
This excellence should come as no surprise for Tottenham fans who have watched Eriksen dominate all season. He's always been an effortlessly elegant player, but this season has taken it to new heights. Whilst Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane understandable grabs the plaudits, one could make a convincing argument that Eriksen is Spurs' most important player.
After all, just look at how much more ordinary Kane (and Dele Alli) looks when he's playing for England, deprived of Eriksen's creative genius. Look at how often the Dane is the one knitting things together for Spurs in attack, how often he's the key man at the heart of Tottenham attacks.
|Position||Team||Total Att Assist||Big Chance Created||Total Scoring Att||Goal Assist||Goals||Appearances||Mins Played|
This season, no Tottenham player has created more chances than Eriksen's 24; nor can anyone top his 3 big chances created whilst only Kieran Trippier, so often an outlet for Eriksen, has more assists. The Dane has taken 29 shots, more than everyone except Kane - and again it's only Kane who has more than his 3 goals.
There's simply no question that whilst Harry Kane is the show-stealing goalscorer, the beating heart of Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs side is their Danish playmaker. And Tottenham will be praying he continues to go overlooked, because he's such a perfect fit for any of the world's elite sides, including (and especially) as Andrés Iniesta's heir in Barcelona. But, for the meantime he is not just a Spurs player - he's Spurs' best player.
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