Faroes v Ireland

Faroes v Ireland

IT Tue, Oct 16
 

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  • 17:11
    There’s blood in the water around the Faroe Islands, folks, and the FAI blazers are circling. If the unnamed sources in the travelling party are to be believed, Giovanni Trapattoni is a ‘Dead Man Walking’ at this stage and will be gone by the end of the week unless his side can muster a 101-0 whipping tonight.

    Given Ireland are up against a team of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Ireland can deliver a cricket score.

    But realistically, given the meagre resources at the Italian’s disposal, the best we can hope for is three or four nil. Not enough to satisfy those calling for his head then. One thing is for certain, the Italian is not about to throw in the towel.

    Asked by the assembled hackery in Torshavn whether he would consider jumping before he is pushed, Trapattoni was vehement that he is not for turning. Even if the FAI declare a lack of faith in his ability to continue in the role, Il Trap won’t be leaving without his pay-off.

    For a cash-strapped association, that could still prove a sticking point. But there’s an ill-wind coming from the north Atlantic outpost and it’s hard to see Trapattoni riding out this particular storm.
  • 17:19
    With all the noise about Trap’s future, it’s easy to forget that Ireland are by no means out of the running in Group C. Sure, Germany inflicted one hell of a beating on our boys last Friday but anybody connected with the team readily admits that first place was never an option. The play-offs were always the likely route to Brazil in two years time and our fate will be decided when we meet Sweden and Austria further down the road.

    Assuming, of course, we avoid further calamity in the meantime. The Faroes might be drawing from an adult male population of around 10,000 but they have thrown the odd spanner in the works down the years. Just ask Nigel Worthington. And as recently as Friday, the Swedes came mighty close to a bloodied nose, leaving it uncomfortably late to secure a 2-1 win. With Ireland’s fragile confidence at a low ebb, disaster is lurking just around the corner.
  • 17:31
    The Irish Independent has been leading the calls for the “shameless”, “lame duck” Italian to do the decent thing and walk, thereby saving the FAI a costly severance deal. Denis O’Brien, who pays half the Italian’s salary, may or may not feel the same way. But the newspaper’s website isn’t towing the party line, coming over all Derren Brown and predicting an 8-0 result that will get Trap “off the hook”.  * see above
  • 17:31
  • 17:38
    Shay Given was swimming against the tide on TalkSport this morning. The former goalkeeper was muted in his criticism of Trapattoni, admitting it wasn’t ideal trying to have a one-on-one conversation with the Italian, given his limited command of the English language, but leaving the listeners in no doubt that the team were always on point as to what they should be doing on the pitch. Given, who was at the Aviva last Friday, has also tweeted his best wishes to the lads “Good luck tonight to the lads against the Faroes. 3 points tonight and we will be back on track”
  • 17:46
  • 18:02
    BREAKING NEWS: Trapattoni has cancelled his traditional morning after the night before press conference tomorrow, instead choosing to head straight back to Milan from the Faroes. Whatever about his motivation, that’s bound to add more fuel to the frenzied speculation suggesting he is on the way out.
  • 18:09
    Team news: There were always going to be casualties after last week’s debacle with Stephen Ward, Simon Cox and Keith Fahy jettisoned. Robbie Brady, sent on to look for survivors against the Germans, wins his second cap on the left wing with Stoke’s Marc Wilson finally getting his chance at fullback. Robbie Keane is fit enough to start, although whether his dodgy Achilles holds out for the full 90 minutes on the plastic surface, remains to be seen. Keane will partner Jon Walters up front.

    The Faroes line out, eh, exactly as predicted and are unchanged from last Friday.
  • 18:19
    Here’s those teams in full . . .

    Faroe Islands
    (4-3-3): Gunnar Nielsen; Jonas Naes, Pol Justinussen, Odmar Faero, Rogvi Baldvinsson; Hallur Hansson, Frodi Benjaminsen, Simun Samuelsen; Daniel Udsen, Christian Holst, Joan Edmundsson

    Republic of Ireland (4-4-2): Keiren Westwood; Séamus Coleman, John O’Shea, Darren O’Dea, Marc Wilson; Robbie Brady, Keith Andrews, James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady; Robbie Keane, Jonathan Walters.
  • 18:37
    Irish Times columnist Brian Kerr believes the current situation is both “unsettling and unsatisfactory”. That said, Brian reckons Ireland will win the game if they turn up.  Back in Montrose, the boys are decidedly downbeat but are falling short of writing Trap’s obituaries just yet.
  • 18:45
    Twitter is agog with the news of Trap opting out of his press duties tomorrow morning. We could be reading too much into this but the writing really does appear to be on the wall, with Emmet Malone of this parish believing his “decision to cancel his press conference suggests he reckons it's gone beyond the point of niceties”.
  • 18:49
    A penny for FAI chief executive John Delaney’s thoughts. Delaney, whose birthday falls today, certainly didn’t look to pleased at the Aviva.

  • 18:49
    Birthday boy John Delaney and some of his distinguished acquaintances during last Friday’s creditable 6-1 defeat to Germany
    Birthday boy John Delaney and some of his distinguished acquaintances during last Friday’s creditable 6-1 defeat to Germany
  • 18:55
    “What are we expecting tonight, it is inconceivable that we could be beaten. Isn’t it.” Billo lays it on a platter for Dunphy on the RTE panel and he wastes no time in tapping it home. “It’s not inconceivable,” he insists. Extremely disappointing, yes. Inconceivable, no.
  • 18:58
    Out on the pitch in Torshavn, and it’s heartening to see that three of the Irish players (Robbie Keane, Keith Andrews and John O’Shea) know the words to our national anthem. At least Keiren Westwood has the good grace to pretend to sing along but he’s fooling no-one. Everyone else seems to be adopting a policy of loose lips sink ships.
  • 19:00
    1 min: The boys have had a little hug in the pre-match huddle . . . and we’re off. I have a bad feeling about this one.
  • 19:03
    3 mins: After just 30 seconds on the clock, Ireland are awarded a corner. Brady, who provided the assist for Andy Keogh against Germany, sends in a teasing ball but Darren O’Dea is unable to get his header on target. The Toronto centre back had a torrid night last week, hopfully he’s sleeping a little better after the weekend.
  • 19:07
    7 mins: The home fans given something to shout about as their side press. But it’s all a bit harem skarem and nothing to seriously concern the Irish defnce. Up at the other end, Brady tries to find the top corner but his shot whistles past the upright. Bright start from the young Man Utd winger.
  • 19:11
    11 mins: McGeady tries his luck down the left, but ends up running down a blind alley. Not the first time I’ve written that sentence doing one of these blogs. Oh, he’s only gone and done the same thing again, and his teammates let him know it’s not good enough against this opposition.
  • 19:14
    13 mins: What a miss!! McGeady switches wings at a corner, picks out Andrews and from all of three yards out, right in the centre of the goal, Andrews contrives to send his header wide of the post. A shocker.
  • 19:19
    18 mins: McCarthy starting to dictate the tempo from the Irish midfield, while Coleman and Brady are causing problems down the right flank. But the Faroes counter and Daniel Udsen almost catches Westwood napping, his cross/shot leaving the ‘keeper flapping at the back post. Replays show the ball may have been going wide, but Westwood wasn’t to know that.
  • 19:21
    20 mins: Does George Hamilton know something we don’t? “Giovanni Trapattoni looks relaxed,” he observes. “As if a weight has been lifted from his shoulders.” Just how much does €1.2 million weigh?
  • 19:24
    24 mins: I may have been overly harsh on McGeady at the start of this match, as the Spartak Moscow player has just delivered another peach of a ball. This time it’s for Walters, but he can’t climb quite high enough to get it on target. Not in the same league as the Andrew’s chance, but a decent opportunity all the same.
  • 19:25
    25 mins: Question. Why is there an office block behind one of the goals at the stadium??
  • 19:30
    28 mins: Gunnar Nielsen denies Ireland the opening goal, the former Manchester City stopper palming Andrews’ flick around the post. Walters also sniffing around for a touch, but Nielsen manages to do enough to get it away. Nice build up play from McGeady, Wilson and Keane (who has been pretty quiet so far) before Andrews’ run was picked out by the Irish skipper.
  • 19:33
  • 19:36
    35 mins: The home side send plenty of numbers forward for a long range free kick, but are guilty of barging around inside the box and the referee awards the free out.
  • 19:40
    39 mins: The Faroes are finishing this half far stronger than Ireland. First Westwood watches one shot whistle past his post and then is grateful for O’Dea’s intervention after Edmundsson is put through by Holst. The home side have disrupted any rhythm Ireland had established, and their long balls into the ‘mixer’ are causing plenty of problems for O’Dea and O’Shea.
  • 19:43
    42 mins: Keane comes off second best in a clash with Baldvinsson, the striker taking a whack on the head, but the resulting free kick is wasted. “You just get a feeling the players are happy not to have conceded – against the Faroe Islands!” opines Ronnie Whelan in the commentary box. “That’s a statement and a half,” concurs George.
  • 19:47
    Half-time: No disasters in Torshavn from an Irish point of view, but it’s decidedly tame fare being offered up by the men in green shirts. True, Andrews should  have opened the scoring and will wonder how exactly he managed to send his header wide, but Ireland haven’t dominated as they should and the Faroes continue to look dangerous on the break.
  • 19:54
    Dunphy is not a happy chappy back in the RTE studios, while Giles and Brady are, eh,  pleasantly surprised by the quality of the home side. “I’m quite impressed with them. Unfortunately,” says Giles. “They’re no pushovers,” agrees Brady.
  • 19:58
    Elsewhere, there are farcical scenes in Poland where England’s qualifier with the home side may have to be postponed until tomorrow night. The pitch is in a right state due to heavy rain and neither side has come out to warm up. The stadium does have a retractable roof, it just seems nobody bothered to close it and it’s too late now.
  • 19:59
    The word from Torshavn is that Simon Cox is coming on to his ‘favoured’ right wing position with Robbie Brady making way. We can only assume Brady has a problem as he’s been one of the brighter sparks for Ireland.
  • 20:01
    Over in Berlin, it hasn’t taken long for Germany to hit the front against Sweden, Klose firing the leaders into an 8th minute lead.
  • 20:04
    46 mins  - Faroes 0 Ireland 1: Play resumes in Torshavn, and less than a minute in Wilson blasts Ireland into the lead. The fullback cuts in from the left wing, shimmies past two defenders and unleashes a howitzer into the top corner. Took a slight deflection off Jonas Naes but Gunnar Nielsen was always going to struggle to keep it out.
  • 20:08
    50 mins: A special moment for Wilson in just his third appearance for Ireland. Keane then tries to get in on the act, but instead of playing McGeady in the skipper selfishly blasts a left-footed effort way over. “Not the best foot for Robbie, his left,” according to Ronnie Whelan.
  • 20:11
    53 mins – Faroes 0 Ireland 2: Keane tries his luck again, but it’s cleared away for a throw. When the ball comes back in, Walters sends a powerful header goalwards, Keane throws a leg at it and it evades the keeper for 2-0. Keane wheels away in celebration but for my money that’s Walters’ goal as his captain didn’t appear to make any contact. He’s definitely claiming it, mind.
  • 20:13
    56 mins: Keane almost has a legitimate goal of his own, but drags his effort just beyond the upright. This could get ugly for the Faroes, who have lost their shape since Wilson’s hammer blow.
  • 20:16
    60 mins: Klose has grabbed another one for Germany, who now lead 2-0 in Berlin. The news from Poland is that another pitch inspection is due at 8.45pm. The fans aren’t sticking around though, and are leaving the stadium in their thousands.
  • 20:19
    63 mins: Faroes manager Lars Olsen attempts to mix things up, throwing on a couple of subs, but they’re unable to stem the tide as Ireland look to kill of the game. McGeady’s final ball is to no-one in particular though, and the home side get a bit of a breather.
  • 20:22
    66 mins: Austria, who could also challenge for a play-off spot in Group C, have taken the lead at home to Kazakhstan. Back in Torshavn, Walters has got a carpet burn from the plastic pitch and is told to leave the action until it is patched up. The Islanders make the most of his absence to apply a bit of pressure but haven’t threatened the Irish goal.
  • 20:26
    69 min – Faroes 1 Ireland 2: Squeeky bum time! Ireland hadn’t  regained the momentum since Walters came back on, and with their umpteenth attack, the Faroes make the breakthrough. Again, the Irish defence didn’t cover itself in glory as the substitute Hansen was allowed to outjump O’Shea and guide a header beyond Westwood’s despairing dive. Game back on here.
  • 20:29
    70 mins: Oh, Keith Andews. It’s not the Dubliner’s night as his shot from close range is deflected wide. Cox also goes close while Robbie Keane is denied a penalty after being manhandled at the byline.
  • 20:33
    73 mins – Faroes 1 Ireland 3: Ireland have their two-goal cushion back, and they have Pol Justinussen to thank after he turned Walter’s cross beyond his own keeper. No sign of Keane trying to claim this one, but you never know.
  • 20:37
    77 mins: Free kick in a dangerous position for the Faroes . . . but Hjalgrim Elttor’s shot is a stinker, lacking any sort of power and straight at the Irish wall. Shane Long, meanwhile, gets 10 minutes to show what he can do with Keane making way.
  • 20:40
    82 mins: Samuelsen might have done better with that, after being found with a lovely little dink over the top. Credit to Coleman, however, who recovers well to get in a block before Samuelsen can settle over the ball.
  • 20:46
    88 mins - Faroes 1 Ireland 4: It’s a rout!! Well, not quite, but Darren O’Dea’s late header – his first goal for Ireland – lends a definite air of respectability to the scoreline. This isn’t an easy place to get a result and Ireland have done all that was asked of them in the second half.
  • 20:49
    Full-time: So there you have it. Not a bad night at the office for an Ireland side still missing some key players but you can’t help feeling the result is somewhat irrelevant and what will be, will be. Trap is hardly going to let the cat out of the bag tonight, if indeed a decision over his future has been made, but his post-match press conference will be almost as important as the match that preceeded it.
  • 21:16
    It’s all kicking off in Montrose. Dunphy has got Brady’s hackles up, and neither are prepared to back down. The upshot is that Dunphy and Giles both advocate sacking Trapattoni, with Brady feeling such a move would make us a laughing stock in world football.

    Trap’s interview with the broadcaster revealed little, the Italian somewhat disingenuously suggesting he was unaware of the speculation about his future before tersely ending the interview when gently pressed on the point.

    We suspect the briefing with the written press – with whom he has cancelled a scheduled conference tomorrow morning – could be a tense affair.
  • 21:31
    No word from the press conference just yet, but in Berlin Sweden have come from 4-0 down to peg Germnay back to 4-3. Still about 10 minutes to play.

    And what about Northern Ireland, who lead Portugal 1-0 in Lisbon.
  • 21:46
    Amazing scenes in Berlin, where Rasmus Elm has salvaged a point for Sweden with the last act at the Olympiastadion. The other result in Group C saw Austria hammer Kazakhstan 4-0. Those results leave Ireland third in the standings, four adrift of Germany and one behind the Swedes. That’s it for me, good night and good luck.