The build-up to this one had been quite low-key, the nation not exactly all a-tizz in anticipation of the resumption of our Group D campaign, and with the Swiss being our opponents on Thursday night it was hard enough for us to shift our emotions out of neutral. But then their goalkeeper Yann Sommer stirred it all up with a savage pre-match barb – Ireland, he said, “play a very unpleasant style of football” – and that was it: Bring. ‘Em. On.
Ireland has, of course, played a very unpleasant style of football in recent times, but that’s for us to say, as we often have, and quite fruitily too during the darker days of the Trapattoni/O’Neill/Keano spells.
But this was Game Five of the new Mick McCarthy era so Sommer was talking through his hosepipe, and Darragh Maloney left it to Damien Duff, Liam Brady and Richie Sadlier to explain why.
So, first we were shown lots of clips of Irish players in the new Mick McCarthy era passing the ball to the opposition, and then we were shown lots more clips of Irish strikers in the new Mick McCarthy era not scoring goals.
This wasn’t uplifting.
“The four strikers in the Irish squad have never scored for their country,” Darragh reminded us, so for some positivity, it was time to switch to Sky.
“Four forwards named in this squad,” said Scott Minto, “not one international goal between them.” Jonathan Walters and Phil Babb’ lower lips quivered. Although Jonathan, you’d imagine, would have welcomed a quiet night after the week that had been in it.
Back to RTE and the lads weren’t exactly Riverdancing about the place on seeing the Irish team, Liam trying hard to spot where goals might come from, ending up lamenting the non-selection of another of our non-scoring front men, Shane Long. Read More