Liege

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.

Video: W-awful time awaits in Belgium?

…Oh wait, that was rugby. Still, our last two meetings were ding-dong affairs. With a make-shift team tonight against an almost full-strength Italy, will Ireland’s recent good form be kicked to touch?