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.
The patron saint of Irish soccer, Giovanni Trapattoni, has named his squad for the games with Germany and the Faroe Islands but only divine intervention will see Richard Dunne in action.
It is unlikely Trapattoni will alter his starting line-up to accommodate any newcomers. Yet, Seamus Coleman looks like he has cemented his place as a squad regular. Marc Wilson will fight it out with Stephen Ward for the left-back berth. Paul McShane comes into the reckoning for a starting spot at full-back with John O’Shea a possible replacement for Dunne.
Despite the doubts over his club colleague, there’s still no room for Ciaran Clark while Stephen Hunt is again over-looked.
The sins of Poland were repeated spectacularly in Kazakhstan but the Republic has now put in four apocalyptic performances in a row. The ass of Astana was as bad as anything produced under Stan Marino, who oversaw the worst results in the nation’s history.
RTE’s chief interrogator Tony O’Donoghue, like a modern day Pontius Pilate, almost had to beat Trap around the head in the post-match interview in Kazakhstan to get him to admit he was unhappy with the performance. Yet at the squad announcement, Trap repeated he was disappointed.
Within seconds of the game ending, it seems Trapattoni knew his starting eleven for the crucial home game with Germany. The disaster that had just unfolded, and seemingly those in Poland, just didn’t register with him.
The Irish young guns impressed in London against Oman yet Andy Keogh played a full 90 minutes and finished the game as a striker. James McClean got half an hour at Craven Cottage. Incredibly, it would appear Keogh is ahead of the Sunderland winger in the manager’s eyes.
Keith Andrews and Keith Fahey return to the fold. Given Andrew’s performances in Poland, this could be regarded as a boost until we’re reminded Trap is merely restoring the midfield partnership that was so woefully inadequate in the qualifying series.
James McCarthy hardly covered himself in glory in Kazakhstan but the long-ball rubbish that continued throughout the game was a waste of his talents. He still offers a spark of creativity that we have been sorely lacking.
Germany are coming to the shining new cathedral that is the Aviva, but the Irish players, slaves to Trapattoni’s selection system, are being thrown to the lions. We can only pray for the return of the Messiah – Paul McGrath re-incarnate – Richard Dunne, to deliver us from Ozil.
Either the football gods will smile on us, as they did on the pilgrimage to Poland, or we haven’t a prayer.
Republic of Ireland vs Germany/Faroe Islands:
Westwood, Forde, Randolph, Wilson, O’Shea, St Ledger, O’Dea, Ward, Kelly, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy, Andrews, Fahey, Coleman, McGeady, Keogh, McClean, Keane, Doyle, Long, Cox, Walters. Standby : Brady, Dunne