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Belgium

Time We Sprung the Play-Off Trap

GIVEN the law of averages we’re due one, aren’t we? No, I’m not talking about a smile from Mick McCarthy, or an expression from Trap that doesn’t leave the nation baffled (cats in bags – what?), but a win in a play-off. It doesn’t have to be a nine-goal thriller. Or even a thriller, for that matter. At this stage there aren’t many people who wouldn’t take a scrappy affair as long as it ends with us packing our bags (without cats please, Giovanni) for Poland and the Ukraine next Summer. Continue reading →

State of Play: Italy 0 Ireland 2

A QUITE extraordinary night in Belgium and perhaps the first inclination that the squad Giovanni Trapattoni is moulding for Ireland may be on the cusp of big things. A second string side put a vastly superior Italian outfit to the sword and looked utterly composed in doing so. Yet, beyond all that, there may be a seed germinating in the mind of the manager that his previous first choice team may not be one to deliver the revolution he believes is possible. Like the friendly against Uruguay, this Irish team full of youth, hunger, commitment and confidence is much easier on the eye and perhaps contains some more capable of returning the Republic to the big time than others who have soldiered so far. Continue reading →