clear sky
humidity: 82%
wind: 4m/s E
H 13 • L 10
Weather from OpenWeatherMap


Nightmare in Poznan

For the last four years, Giovanni Trapattoni has spoken about getting the little details right. Yet last night it was the big ones which let Ireland down. Irrespective of everything that went against them – such as the second goal, which if you debate the laws of the game long and hard enough could have been disallowed as easily as it was given – the bottom line is that both Croatia and Ireland got precisely what they deserved.

“Our tactics were great,” said Slaven Bilic. “We went for it. We attacked. We put an emphasis on our wide players. I’m thrilled.”

More Sport:

He should be. For Bilic, qualification is now a tangible objective. For Ireland, it’s theoretically possible but realistically unattainable. Spain are next and while they were hardly a resemblance of the 2010 version, they are still streets ahead of where Trap’s Ireland are right now.

“The bottom line,” said Niko Kalinic “was that our football was better in open play than Ireland’s. They caused us trouble from set-pieces, but not much more than that.”

There can be no more damning verdict.

But for the fact that Ireland’s set-pieces – from a defensive perspective – were a letdown. The first goal – scored on three minutes – came when a corner was only partially cleared. The second came via a hashed Stephen Ward clearance. And for the third, the lack of pressure on Darijo Srna and Ivan Rakitic as they worked the opening for Mario Mandzukic to score from, was untypical of the Ireland team Trap has spent four years building.

So given that so much of our game-plan is dictated by getting the little details right, by not coughing up easy goals, by not being caught out of shape, by not being easy to beat, tonight was probably the worst of Trap’s reign.

And it comes back to the old joke Mark Lawrenson used to say about Jack Charlton – that when Plan A failed, we automatically reverted to Plan A.

Last night, when Ireland’s Plan A failed, Plan B was to put a centre forward (Simon Cox) on the left wing, a square peg in a round hole. At that stage the game was crying out for James McClean.

He didn’t get the chance he deserved.

And Ireland are now hoping for a second chance. In boxing, promoters gift their fighters ‘a bum’ in their comeback fight, believing a win will help their confidence. Instead of a bum, Ireland have the reigning World and European champions. It promises to be a long week.


Irish Post

The Irish Post is the biggest-selling weekly newspaper for the Irish in Britain and the voice of the Irish community since 1970. Follow the Irish Post on Twitter @theirishpost

Welcome to Irish post

Please share your email address to view the article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About us

The Irish Post is the biggest selling national newspaper to the Irish in Britain. delivers all the latest Irish news to our online audience around the globe.

Contact Editorial

Tel: +44 (0)20 8900 4193


Tel: +44 (0)20 8900 4137


Irish Post