Löw Lie the Fields of Athenry

Pic: Sean MacEntee

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.

If they were singing different tunes before kick-off, Irish football followers were on the same hymn-sheet following the game in Dublin. The calls for the head of Trapattoni were reaching a crescendo. We were falling over ourselves to scream loudest: “Trap out.” And the Germans noticed it too.

The visitors’ coach Joachim Löw was suffering badly from a cold in Dublin but his players provided the perfect tonic. Ireland’s ails ran much deeper.

trap close up faceThe morning after the World Cup qualifier, Löw stayed at the team hotel in Dublin and gave his assistant Hansi Flick the task of taking a small group of players back to the Aviva Stadium for a training session. It had been a little difficult to obtain permission from the FAI for the unusual run-out but some of the team who had routed the Irish the night before were back on the pitch as the clean-up continued around them. The Germans had long left town while the mess remained in Irish football.

The reaction of the Irish fans had come as as much a surprise to them as the lack of resistance put up by Giovanni Trapattoni’s side.

During Euro 2012, the Irish supporters made as great an impression on the Germans as the Polish hosts of the tournament. Many of the Green Army began their summer adventure in cities such as Berlin and Frankfurt and the locals were only too happy to join in the pre-Euros excitement.

Irish bars from Cologne to Munich were packed to the rafters when Trapattoni’s Republic were in action, and they weren’t just full of ex-pats.

In the build-up to the crunch-encounter at Lansdowne Road, the Germans waxed lyrical about the famed Irish support. As the media and fans here attempted to drown each other out with who can shout loudest for the head of the manager, the German press reaction was equally as unpleasant to Irish ears.

“The problems of the German team were not seen in Dublin – because the Irish were too poor to take advantage of it.”

Joachim Löw: “I think we’ve played a very good game and deserved to win. The opponent was a bit unimaginative, even with the high-ball, sometimes hit 80 metres forward. We found the right balance.”

“There is huge whining about the current lack of talent and top players as well as copious bitching about the Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, his players, his selection, and his antiquated defensive approach”
“The Irish, under coach Giovanni Trapattoni were very weak. Of course, the German team didn’t allow them into the game. To witness the Irish supporters, who normally act as an extra man behind all of their teams, as a green island of booing and whistling, was a sensation.”

“Unlike the 0-4 against Spain at the European Championships, there was no singing this time. It weighed heavily on the home fans, the knowledge that an Irish team in Brazil in 2014 is almost as unlikely as one from Kazakhstan.”

“It’s often forgotten that bagpipe playing is not a purely Scottish affair. It was the only time in this cool Dublin football evening when the German national team didn’t know what was happening. Once the musicians left the field, Joachim Loew’s team had everything under control.”

“The Irish were so inferior that even their fans no longer sang. And if the Irish supporters don’t sing, there must be something very wrong.”

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