Group B

Only End Result Matters in End Game

The result is all that matters? Not any more for the Irish. Giovanni Trapattoni has delivered the Republic to a play-off, a 50-50 shoot-out to decide who goes to Euro 2012 next summer. Yet, the manner of that achievement has polarised public opinion on our national team. It is ironic that having instilled a no-lose mentality into the minds of his players, culminating in the win over Armenia. Trapattoni can’t convert the Irish public. Only a win will send Ireland to the European Championships. Only a performance, will convince the people that we’re worth it.

Preview: Ireland’s Call to Arms

Despite some frustrating nights, Irish fans are beginning to realise that no second-placed side in Europe would fancy facing a team that hasn’t conceded a goal in 720 minutes of football. If Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland are just as miserly on Tuesday, he’ll deliver the Republic to another play-off with the ‘mentality’ that we’ve got unfinished business.

Preview: On our Pyrenees but Summit Still in Sight

A win is a must. Haven’t we heard that before? The Irish players are saying all the right things. Many are talking about the possibility of outright qualification. Yet, what has changed? Before the Slovakia game in the Aviva Stadium, Ireland needed a victory to go top of the group. Had we got it, combined with the subsequent heroic rearguard in Moscow, we would be sitting pretty at the top of the table now. Two wins and we would be packing our bags for Poland and Ukraine.

Video: Ooh Ahh Honey Monsta

Paul McGrath lauds Richard Dunne’s one man Iron Curtain in Moscow.

“Richard Dunne congratulations The Best performance I have seen from any Irish centre half and that includes myself”

State of Play: Russia 0 Ireland 0

Armenia 4 Slovakia 0. That scoreline puts Ireland’s result in Moscow into perspective. Taking into account the reverse result in Dublin and the fact that we were second-best for most of the night, this was a heroic display by Trapattoni’s Ireland. Richard Dunne was a stand-out performer and if Russia fail to beat Slovakia next month, Ireland still have a chance of automatic qualification.

Preview: Mission to Moscow

After Friday’s display, Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for a first tournament since 2002 looked doomed. The reaction of the crowd at the end said it all. The team were booed off the pitch, not because they failed to score but because Irish people only demand one thing, 100% effort from everyone in a green shirt. Many people paid good money to be in the Aviva last week. Many people didn’t. We can accept limited ability but cannot except limited effort. And yet, in Moscow, Ireland have a chance to pay back their fans by finally backing up their words with a performance.

State of Play: Ireland 0 Slovakia 0

There were two main reasons why Ireland didn’t beat Slovakia on Friday night. Firstly, Aiden McGeady’s inept performance handicapped the home side reducing our attacking threat to just one outlet, Damien Duff. And secondly, Trapattoni chose not to replace the Spartak Moscow player until six minutes to go.

Preview: Vak to the Fut-Eur

Slovakia; The first of four games that will decide if Giovanni Trapattoni has completed his mission to turn the Republic of Ireland into worthy performers on the game’s top stage. A win at Lansdowne Road will put daylight between ourselves and the Slovaks and pitch Ireland in a two-way shoot-out with Russia for automatic qualification. Provided, of course, Ireland back up the players’ words this week with action.