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Brazil 2014

We’ll Leave It There So

billo He’s been the steady hand guiding generations of football fans through some of the most heady days in Irish sport. After decades on our television, and 36 years tearing his hair out with everyone from Denis Irwin to Don Givens on RTE’s football panels, Bill O’Herlihy is embarking on his final World Cup as anchor. ybig.ie look back at some of Billo’s memorable moments. Continue reading →

Maracana History Repeating Itself

Maracana brazil series The Brazil Series, a collection of articles inspired by the world’s greatest footballing cradle, Póg Mo Goal looks at the storied past of the iconic ground that holds a special place in the heart of all Brazilians. It’s ironic that the reopening of Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium with Brazil vs England was overshadowed by accusations that the venue wasn’t ready. It’s merely a case of history repeating itself. Continue reading →

Nike USA World Cup Away Kit

1621793_10151942703347035_1338957105_n As the countdown to the World Cup continues, Nike have released the new USA away kit, worn for the first time in last week’s friendly against Mexico. The launch campaign features NFL’s Ndamukong Suh, sprinter Allyson Felix and director Spike Lee. Continue reading →

PUMA Reveal More World Cup Kits

switz crop The World Cup gear is arriving thick and fast this week, and following the launch of Italy’s home and away shirts, comes PUMA’s unveiling of the Brazil 2014 kits for Cameroon, Ghana, Algeria, Switzerland, and Chile. The new jerseys will be worn for the first time in tonight’s series of international friendlies. Continue reading →

Last Meeting: Cat’s Out of Kazakh

Untitled Ireland’s performance in Astana in the opening game on the road to Brazil set off alarm bells. A smash and grab raid at the death with a Robbie Keane penalty and a late show from substitute Kevin Doyle earned Giovanni Trapattoni a scarcely deserved victory. Ireland’s low morale and rudderless game-plan meant even the minnows knew how to trouble us. The cat was out of the bag. Continue reading →

Comedy Show but Who’s Laughing?

rte panel 2 It was a question posed by Bill O’Herlihy; was Friday’s defeat in Cologne as bad as the 6-1 loss in Dublin at the beginning of the campaign? Eamon Dunphy said it was worse. His colleagues Liam Brady and John Giles avoided giving a direct answer. And Noel King’s reaction to the RTE panel points to a disconnect that’s anything but funny. Continue reading →

Löw Lie the Fields of Athenry

Pic: Sean MacEntee With Ireland travelling to Germany for our penultimate qualifier, our minds are cast back to the 6-1 drubbing at home. The reaction of Friday’s hosts following the Aviva Stadium clash seemed to foresee the beginning of the end for the manager, and the growing unrest of the Irish fans. Continue reading →

View from the Other Side: Turbulence Ahead in Rhine Air

mesut ozil muslim 1 Aleix Gwilliam, co-editor of the English-language German-football website Bundesliga Fanatic, predicts a much different game between Ireland and Germany on Friday than the hammering in Dublin. Joachim Löw’s squad selection has not been without controversy but with qualification still to be secured, it could prove another long night on the banks of the Rhine for Noel King’s Ireland no matter what tactics he tries. Continue reading →

‘Maestro’ Trap Faces Austrian Mountain

trap close up crop Both smarting from defeats last Friday and trailing the play-off spot by three points, Austria and Ireland face off in Vienna desperately clinging to hope. Georg Sander of 90minuten.au traces the recent development of Austrian football, claiming the current defence is a weakness, and that former Salzburg coach Trapattoni still holds a fascination for the natives – an allure that has all but disappeared in Ireland. Continue reading →

Swedes Told ‘No’ To Aviva March

swedish fans march A request by Swedish fans to march from Dublin city centre to the Aviva Stadium on Friday evening and perform a Tifo display in the grounds, has been turned down by the Gardai and FAI. Up to 6,000 Swedes are expected at the crunch World Cup encounter but the march, which has become a tradition on away trips, has been ruled out by the authorities while an in-stadium display has also been shot down. Continue reading →

Squad Rotation: A Year of Change

ireland italy euro 2012 Statistics released this week show Ireland with the fourth highest representation of footballers in the Premier League and, with the new season just starting, international boss Giovanni Trapattoni was able to name ten top flight players in his team to face Wales. This time a year ago, however, his squad was reeling from a disastrous European Championship. The manager has stuck to his word and overhauled the playing staff but for the team that lined out against Italy last summer, much has changed in just 12 months. Continue reading →

Boys of Summer: 10 Talking Points

Republic of Ireland v Spain - International Friendly It’s been a massive end of season for the Boys in Green. Three World Cup qualifying points, positive displays against England and Spain, the emergence of Wes Hoolahan, and the growing statures of Coleman and McCarthy have whet the appetite for a real crack at toppling Austria and Sweden for a play-off berth. However, for some, criticism of the team and manager remains entrenched. Here’s 10 talking points. Continue reading →

This is Crazy, So Call Me Brady

trap-brady-1 The latest communications mishap surrounding the Irish football team should have us all clamouring for the return of Liam Brady to the management. The pundit is renowned for talking sense on RTE’s soccer panel and there’s nothing sensible about some of the talk coming from the Irish camp in recent days. Continue reading →

Trap’s Delight with Old Wes Shift

wes-hoolahan-scores-the-second-goal-622013-630x403 Once upon a time in Dublin, getting a score from Old Wes meant something entirely different, but it was shift of a different kind at another south Dublin venue that has Irish football fans all hot and bothered. Wes Hoolahan’s cameo against Poland has put a pep in the step of the Irish soccer team and its under-fire manager. Continue reading →

Window of Opportunity for Irish

meyler mccarthy long ireland This time last year, there were high hopes of transfer movement for Irish stars struggling at club level. A European Championship loomed on the horizon, a competition Marco Tardelli said could serve as a shop window for the Republic squad. The demand for our stars failed to materialise and Poland saw the shop bankrupt. This time however, it’s form players and old reliables that are attracting attention. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Stephen Hunt

inpho_00558015-630x408 “I was pissed off, 100pc. Angry, yes. Heartbroken, yes. But no, I never thought about not wanting to play…Trapattoni has his ways. He’s stubborn. But I do like him and I think he is the right man for the job and that’s coming from a person who didn’t play at the Euros” Continue reading →

It Started With a Handshake

SNV35554 Review: Mick McCarthy took over at Ipswich Town last week and confirmed he would have said yes to a return to the Ireland job. His arrival at Portman Road drew the inevitable links to Roy Keane’s time in charge of the Tractor Boys. For Irish people, one name usually follows the other and the word Saipan is never far from the lips. Diarmuid O hAinle’s stunning new book It Started With a Handshake takes us back to 2002 but asks what if it had all turned out differently? Continue reading →

“You Can Flick Your World Cup”

SNV35554 It was the hand-shake that tremored around the world. Now two giants of Irish football have been reduced to miniature. To celebrate Diarmuid O’hAinle’s stunning book on arguably the national team’s most momentous period, the 2001 Lansdowne Road embrace between Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane has been depicted in Subbuteo form. Continue reading →

Papering Over the Craic

smokingman It’s been a rough week for Irish football but a worse one for the people who report on it. The sports hacks as a collective have taken a PR battering and they’ve reverted to their defensive mode by blaming the FAI for the fiasco. Meanwhile, the public remains in the dark. Continue reading →

Swede Jaysus: Commentator Goes Comeback Crazy

Untitled Having mauled Ireland in Dublin, Germany thought they were home and leder-hosed when 4-0 up on Sweden in Berlin. Zlatan and co had other ideas though. The Swedes produced a stunning comeback to blow Group C wide open and leave Ireland trailing in third in the early World Cup qualifying running. It prompted a Swedish radio commentator to lose his cool and our own Des Cahill to ask, when have Germany ever thrown away a lead like this before? Continue reading →

Video: No Fairytale for Trap in Far Far Away

560856_10151286069255242_1824844458_n Ireland got their World Cup hopes back on track last night with a 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands but the pitch-forks are still out for the manager. An ogre in the eyes of the press and some supporters, Giovanni Trapattoni answered some of his critics by naming Seamus Coleman, Robbie Brady, and Marc Wilson in the starting eleven but will there be a happy ending or has the page turned on the Trap chapter of Irish soccer? Continue reading →

History Lessons: Home Rule for Ireland

Florrie-Burke-1951-1024x857 Remarkably, Ireland have recorded quite a few successes against the Germans over the years, especially at home. Despite the shambolic reign of Steve Staunton, we still gave them two tough encounters when last paired in a qualifying group. Despite the gloom among the home supporters, tonight’s visitors are well aware they face a potentially uncomfortable evening at Lansdowne Road. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Lukas Podolski

Lukas-Podolski580~1 “It is an uncomfortable contest. I think their fans are crazy but in a good way. I heard they have a new stadium, there will be 40,000 crazy fans of Ireland. It will be a difficult match, we need to prepare well.” “But of course we will travel there tomorrow and get the three points on Friday.” Continue reading →

Trap’s Sermon for the Germans

irland-vs-germany-71 The high priest of Ireland’s football religion won’t be converted but Giovanni Trapattoni has a few new disciples. Announcing his squad for the upcoming qualifiers, Robbie Brady is on standby while the manager says Ireland needs a miracle to have Richard Dunne available. Now the Germans are coming to hammer the first nail in our World Cup hopes. Continue reading →