Ireland , Where to Now…

Ireland Where to Now

So Ireland have it all to do at Euro 2016 after a 3-0 defeat to Belgium. They can still qualify for the last 16 if they beat Italy and Belgium do the business against Sweden. Now the second part of that equation is far more achievable than Ireland getting a result vs Italy.

The defeat was a crushing blow to Ireland’s hopes of progressing. At Euro 2012, Ireland managed only one goal and thankfully they have matched that this year. Only time will tell to see can Ireland turn the tables on Italy and get the required result.

 Ireland are a team of hard working professionals that will give all for the cause but when we face a side full of real quality we always come up short bar one off results like the 1-0 win over Germany last October.

Yesterday they kept it tight for 45 minutes and managed to keep Belgium from scoring. But in the 47th minute that all changed as Kevin De Bruyne cut Ireland open and squared the ball for Romelu Lukaku to fire past Darren Randolph. Ireland struggled yet again yesterday to gain possession of the ball and keep the ball.

For all the guts and determination that Ireland have we don’t really have that real quality to threaten the top sides. It’s always the same work hard and maybe just maybe we might get a free kick or get lucky from a corner and score a goal and then it’s hold what you have and hope they opposition have an off day. That’s no way to play football.

 We seem to be happy to go from set piece to set piece and hope that we manage to sneak a goal. Plyers like Wes Hoolahan look great going forward but he needs help from other guys like James Mc Carthy and Glen Whelan who play Premier League football.

 I think the gulf in class between our squad and others is far too big to breach at this moment in time and it will take a real change in attitude from the people who run the game in Ireland for our results to change and for us to go from a team who plays one way to qualify for tournaments and then doesn’t have a plan B when we meet a Belgium, Germany or Spain.

These are three nations who have gone back to basics to change the way they play the game and also they have invested heavily at underage level and this has brought success at Under 21 level. We have a league in this country and it has produced a number of players  that took to the field yesterday namely Hoolahan , Long , Coleman to name three guys who cut their teeth in the League Of Ireland in there early years as professionals.

I am not for one minute suggesting that all will be solved overnight but defeats like yesterday would be far easier to take if we had more technically minded players other than guys who depend on heart, guts and determination, this will only get you to certain level but all the great sides need a plan B and even a plan C at times.

The give it a lash attitude has to change and yes I do realise that our players  for the most part play in the Championship in England where the long ball tactic in applauded and applied by most teams in the division.

For the most part when a side arrives in the Premier League which I must again say we are told is the greatest league in the world they struggle against most of the teams bar again maybe one or two big upsets. This has been proven by some poor performances by England.

Ireland will have to go back to basics if they are to stand any real chance of beating already qualified Italy. This mad notion that Italy will rest players and that will help Ireland is totally misguided for the simple reason that those players that will be brought in on wednesday evening will be out to impress and push for a starting spot in the Last 16.

There will have to be plenty of Novena’s said because Ireland will need all the help they can get to find a route to the Last 16. The supporters of course have been loyal in their support of the team and that won’t disappear on Wednesday. They like the rest of the country will get behind the team and hope for a result that will at least prolong Ireland’s involvement for another few days at least….


Cian Mc Gibney


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