Get your house on the Germans

I’ve just returned from a short trip to Malahide to watch our beloved national side train. Firstly, there was no entry for supporters. It was a closed session. Now I ain’t the topside of smart but surely the Germans need only to watch our performances in this group to realise we’re shit and don’t need spying on. Also, having fought 2 biggish wars, they’re probably masters of the spyworld anyway. If espionage was on their mind, they need only to climb a hill(the training ground is at the bottom of a large hill) to watch away. The main point is THEY WERE SHIT. No spirit, no urgency and damn all skill on show as they walked through a mind numbing ‘training’ exercise. We’re fooked is my thoughts…

Were you watching from atop said hill? Paddy’s by an chance was it?

I only watched Ireland train once before (I think you accompanied me) and the standard was fairly laughable. Lee Carsley missed 3 penalties in a row with no keeper from memory.

Germans are 4/5 or something aren’t they?

Yeah. A bohs to lift the cup and Germany double is on the cards.

By Brendan McLoughlin, PA Sport

Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland’s squad for their upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers because he “would not do his country or himself justice”.

The news comes as a further blow for manager Steve Staunton for the Group D meetings at Croke Park with Germany on Saturday and Cyprus four days later following full-back Stephen Carr’s withdrawal earlier today with a hamstring problem.

Ireland, 21, pulled out of the Republic’s last qualifier against the Czech Republic in September citing the death of a grandmother but later admitted he had made it up as he wanted to be with his partner who had suffered a miscarriage.

What sort of reason is that? Is he injured or just concerned about form or simply not bothered?

Stephen Ireland is a clown and should not even be considered for selection anymore. Fook the little baldy coont bag. Sven should let him rot in the reserves too.

Not bothered it seems. He’s played the last 3 games for Manchester City so I don’t see how he could be suffering mentally from his partner’s unfortunate miscarriage.

His birds a slapper, it probably wasnt his so she got rid and made up the miscarriage story.

This Steven Ireland stuff is very strange - hard to know when to believe the lad these days. Seems that Staunton and the FAI went to all ends to get him to play but he turned them down. Wonder why they didn’t do the same when Paddy Kenny had “personal problems.” In that case they just dropped him despite Kenny himself saying he wanted to be in the squad. Still at least we have Nicky Colgan in the squad - on the bench and transfer listed at Barnsley.

Call-up for Alex Bruce now to replace the ill Andy O’Brien. John O’Shea has joined up with the squad too so there’ll be a possibility of a centre half on the bench which would be a real luxury as Stan clearly believes we don’t need one. Anyone know why Bruce didn’t start for Ipswich at the weekend - looks like he was dropped.

Nicky bloody Colgan. Give Brian Murphy a run out in the team I say. Super keeper.

Player Ratings:

Given 6 - nothing to do. Was smartly out of his box on one instance to clear a through ball. Other than that he wasn’t tested. Kicking was poor sometimes, though he did hit Kilbane accurately with most of his kick-outs

Finnan 7.5 - defended very well. Didn’t get forward all that often which was a pity but he coped well with Trochowski who had looked lively early on.
O’Brien 7 - Good defensive performance too. Caught out once or twice but he’s not a centre half. He’s always looked a useful full back though and he showed himself to be a decent defender yesterday.
Dunne 8 - Put in a number of cracking blocks and helped O’Brien through the game. Could do with picking up less bookings but everything’s a bit last ditch for this team at the moment.
Kelly - 6.5 Played surprisingly well and made a decent intervention on Gomez with a header. He played far too narrow though and if he’d been up against a winger instead of a full back he’d have been in trouble.

Keogh - 6.5 Held his position well and he has a decent touch but he’s obviously no winger. Only got one cross into the box all night despite getting plenty of the ball. He’s a decent player but doesn’t belong on the right wing.
Carsley - 6.5 Too defensive. The defensive midfield role shouldn’t involve sitting 5 or 10 yards in front of the centre halves to break up attacks when they get to you. It should also involve harrying their midfielders around the half way line or in their own half. We allowed them far too much easy possession in the middle of the park
Reid - 8 Passed the ball very well and even got stuck in early on. Some nice switches out to Keogh that looked the part but his through ball for Keane and another couple of shorter passes were more encouraging.
Kilbane - 7 Got forward and got back. Won his fair share of kick-outs.

Keane - 6.5 Missed a glorious chance that he should have done far better on. Worked hard but we never really had decent possession in their half that he could capitalise on.
Doyle - 7 Similar to Keane but chased the corners a little better and held it up quite well.

Long - looked energetic
McGeady - two dangerous crosses into the box in the last 5 minutes. Showed the value of playing a winger.

All in all it was an ok performance but it was nothing particularly inspiring and it wasn’t a promise of improvements to come. Our shape wasn’t brilliant with Reid asked to play a conventional central midfield role because Carsley was so deep. Losing Schweinsteiger was a huge blow for them (Borowski, Schweinsteiger and Ballack were all missing from their first choice midfield). They brought on Rolfes who’s a bit of a journeyman and it meant they had a full back and two holding midfielders in their quartet. Still we didn’t press them really at all because we played far too deep ourselves. Rolfes in particular didn’t look brilliant on the ball and we really should have asked questions of him in his own half.

Get your house on the Germans

Anyone homeless after last night?

I was actually bored during the first half last night. But I suppose things improved in the second though it was obvious the Germans had come for a draw and had little ambition in taking the game to us.

Agree with rocko’s ratings by and large. Thought Andy Reid was excellent and seemed like our only midfield player who was comfortable receving the ball under pressure, taking a touch and then using it properly. A lot of the rest of them just drove it up the line any time they were pressed which is basically handing back possession ridiculously cheaply.

I was very impressed with Finnan - he’s a very composed and assured player and has good consistency. And I thought Joey O’Brien was very promising too, even playing out of position. It’s very frustrating at Ireland games when the main tactic every time appears to be to hoof the long ball out to Kilbane. I have been a supporter of Robbie Keane in the wake of what I considered to be silly criticism in the past but his effort after half time last night was pathetic. Take it down, bury it and then look to the lino instead of dismissively poking at the ball.

Over all though we have some good young players and they just need a capable coach to guide them. It was funny during the half time interval. The announcer guy read out the answer to the ‘Eircom quiz question’ as Stephen Staunton and a large portion of the crowd booed.

Finally, I can’t be arsed going on Wednesday night so pm me if you wanna buy my ticket off me at face value (50 Europeans behind the Canal End goal).

Robbie Keane. I’ve said it all before.

Why sub Doyle for Long? Take the useless fook Keane off instead. Actually why not leave Keane out alltogether and play Doyle and Long. I really detest Keane. His whole demeanor irritates me. Any time he fooks up he looks for someone else to blame. Im starting to sound like a raving loon but just talking about Keane winds me up.

Theres no great teams anymore Bill.

Why sub Doyle for Long? Take the useless fook Keane off instead. Actually why not leave Keane out alltogether and play Doyle and Long. I really detest Keane. His whole demeanor irritates me. Any time he fooks up he looks for someone else to blame. Im starting to sound like a raving loon but just talking about Keane winds me up.

Did you ever here the Gift Grub Keane?

Possibly late picking up on this story but this Stephen Ireland stuff is really weird altogether.

International prospects of Stephen Ireland get a touch hairy
Russell Kempson Dublin

Fears were growing last night that Stephen Ireland, the troubled Manchester City midfield player, will give up international football at the tender age of 21.

The player is already on temporary leave, having withdrawn from Irelands squad for the European Championship qualifying matches at home to Germany and Cyprus, after missing the previous international week amid sensational developments in which he misled his club and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) about the reason behind his unavailability.

He claimed that a grandmother had died before finally admitting that he had withdrawn from the squad because his girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage. Although still playing for City, he is receiving counselling for his problems and his club have enlisted specialist help from the United States.

Newspaper reports in Dublin at the weekend claimed that the reason that Ireland put his international career on hold was that he had been mocked by his Ireland colleagues over an alleged hair transplant or his wearing of a hairpiece.

This taunting, it was said, degenerated into two teammates pinning him to the floor and attempting to remove the evidence. It is understood that Irelands distress at the reports could shatter his recovery. If this goes on, theres now a great fear that Stephen will retire from Ireland for good, a source said. Another source told The Times that it was more basic ribbing but he took it really badly. The FAI denied that any bullying took place.

Last year:

This year:

That’s absolutely fooking quality. Awesome stuff. I hope he can come back for the Welsh game but I heard he suffered a hairline fracture of his head. I wonder who the two players who allegedly tried to rip his hair off were. My money’s on Hunt and Daryl Murphy.

The little knacker going around acting the hardman and then crying off over his hair.

This taunting, it was said, degenerated into two teammates pinning him to the floor and attempting to remove the evidence

Brilliant stuff, Id have kicked him in the face if he had of been pinned down in front of me.

It’s farcical isn’t it? You can’t believe anything from the guy anymore. Who knows what’s true about what he said earlier?