We won’t qualify for Euro 2012 playing like this. We just won’t. Scrapping a win against the fifth seeds? Not good enough.
The Ireland squad is just very, very thin. We have one player for most positions and no one of any quality ready to replace them. I speak especially of Kilbane, who should have retired years ago, and Keane, who really should be dropped the second any other Irish striker starts showing form.
The midfield of Whelan/Andrews, and now Green, is just weak. They can’t boss the game like defensive midfielders should. McGeady seems hesitant to go racing down the flanks like he should be doing. And Dunne looks a little dodgy at the back.
Lawrence, Given and Doyle had good games and that’s about it really. Fahy was lucky enough to get in a good position to score, but he didn’t so much after. Armenia could very easily have gotten a result here. I am not optimistic.
There are two main things that are bothering me about this team.
Looking at the Ireland squad, how many of those players currently play in the highest level of club football, the Champions League?
Two. John O’ Shea, our starting right back, and Darren Gibson. And for some reason, Gibson just cannot get a game for Ireland. He is a quality player. He’s won things at club level. He scored at the highest club level. And to be frank, he is just a better player then Andrews or Whelan. Gibson is an Irish Paul Scholes in the making so why the hell does he not even get subbed in?
The other thing is the tactics which are garbage. Both to watch and in effectiveness. Ireland are not a long ball team. That only works when:
-You have a center forward who can latch on to the ball coming from a height and do things with it. Rooney and Torres are examples. Robbie Keane can’t do it.
-You have a center midfield who can boss the game and pull the opposing team out of position. Our centre midfield cannot do that.
-Your team is used to defensive football. Nearly all of our players ply their trade in the English Leagues where an attacking form of football is the norm. You cannot get players, who spend 95% of their season playing attacking football, and ask them to start playing like an Italian team. It doesn’t work.
This team has proved it can do great things if Trappatoni will just let them off the leash. Italy and France can attest to that.
My last note is this: Why do we keep getting cursed by bad refs? Last nights man had no control over the game, leaving it far too late to start disciplining an Armenian team that was content to foul us out in attack.