Ireland head into tonight’s clash against France with a mountain to climb: having not won in Paris for 72 years. On Saturday night we saw the Boys in Green fall to their first competitive defeat under manager Giovanni Trapattoni, losing out 1-0 to Les Bleus from a deflected Nicolas Anelka strike, thus giving France a vital away goal to take back home to Paris.
However, if Ireland scores first tonight then its game on, provided that they don’t concede another goal, the match will enter extra time, and we will have the run the risk of a penalty shoot out. While many say it’s an uphill battle for Ireland, a comeback is possible. Six goals in five qualifying games suggest that Ireland can get a goal in Paris.
Speaking after Saturday nights defeat Trapattoni’s message to the “great Irish fans” was – “to be positive”, its only half-time”.
Despite their inferiority, France showed that they are a shadow of their former selves in Saturday night’s match, not even having to get out of first gear to win the game. Having being kept on the back foot for most of the first half France managed to make their possession count after the break, and deserved their win. In truth is was a poor performance from the former world champions, who could yet be out of the World Cup by the end of tomorrow night, not likely but, hopefully.
The last team to beat Les Bleus in a competitive fixture in Paris was Scotland back in October 2007, where they won 1-0, the impossible is possible, and in the second half of this tie is where David could well beat Goliath. 1-0 is all Ireland to win by, then the dreaded penalty –shoot out will follow, I think we would be much better to play for a two goal win, however, if we do go ahead, the we have to defend that lead.
For sheer guts and determination Ireland deserve their place at next year’s World Cup, but because of the powers that be at FIFA, and their ridiculous decision to seed the play-offs, means teams like Ireland must come up against higher ranked teams like France.
We all have fond memories here in Ireland of the World Cup: Italia 90’, USA 94’ where we sung in the streets – “We’re all part of Jackie’s army”. Let’s hope our Irish team does the business tomorrow night to bring back those glory days, by scoring early and taking control of the game.
Anyone for South Africa 2010 and “We’re all part of Trappy’s army”?