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On The Road To Nowhere?
With baffling selections and bizarre tactics, fears that Trap may be leading Ireland to a dark, dark, dark place seemed to be confirmed by our last-gasp win against mighty Kazakhstan. The question (rhetorical you suspect) is: can things possibly get any worse?
Craig Fitzsimons, 25 Sep 2012
None of this is to suggest for a minute that the manager is even a remotely credible figure by this stage, with fresh cause for despair now emerging almost every time he opens his mouth. He has blatantly stated that Andy Keogh is ahead of James McClean in the current pecking order; Robbie Keane appears to be undroppable despite mounting evidence of Shane Long’s visible superiority; he chastised Robbie Brady for ‘too much dribbling’ after the Oman friendly; he would appear to be more or less unaware of the existence of Arsenal’s Conor Henderson; his command of the English language, a source of mild amusement in 2008, is no longer remotely funny; and, above all, his success in masterminding innumerable Italian championship triumphs several decades ago appears to have left him with a sense of Papal infallibility whereby he never, ever, reflects for so much as a moment on the possibility that his approach may need a mid-game rethink, even when it’s screamingly obvious to everyone else.
That being the case — he isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, and the chances of him altering the script at age 73 are less than zero — it may be left to the players to take command of the situation. Germany, it should be apparent, are easily capable of invading Dublin next month and eviscerating us 3-0 or 4-0. The Russians, a far flimsier proposition than Germany in several key areas, arrived at the Aviva two years ago and ran rings, squares and parallelograms around us en route to a 3-0 lead before easing up and almost allowing us out of jail. Our record against genuinely good teams in the last two years offers very little cause for encouragement. Unlike quite a few international superpowers, Germany are completely unacquainted with the concept of ‘taking it easy’ in qualifying fixtures with a view to conserving energy for the battles ahead: a cursory glance at their results in tournament qualifiers over the last fifty-odd years reveals that they have a win rate of about 99%, with an average goal difference of terrifying proportions. The mere thought of their imminent visit is enough to make the bowels shift uneasily. Bring ‘em on.