Posts Tagged ‘ Kazakhstan ’

Quartet Return To First Post Trapattoni Ireland Squad

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Noel King today announced a provisional 26 man squad for Ireland’s upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Germany on October 11 in Cologne, and Kazakhstan on October 15 in Aviva Stadium.

The squad will be shortened ahead of the fixtures in order to facilitate injuries with both Robbie Brady and Jon Walters struggling with injury. Continue reading

Irish Sides Learn European Fate

el-trophyUEFA revealed the draw for the First Qualifying Round and Second Qualifying Round of both the Champions League and Europa League yesterday morning. Fans from across the globe, including those within in the League of Ireland tuned in to see where they would follow their team in a foreign country for the first time this year.

St.Patrick’s Athletic never seem to get the luck they need within the draws. Pats last couple of European draws has featured trips to Bosnia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Malta, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. No doubt their was an air of grievance around Richmond Park yesterday when the draw pitted them against Lithuanian side Zalgiris Vilnius, with a potential second round trip to Armenia to face FC Pyunik or Macedonia to face FK Teteks on the cards should they progress. . Continue reading

Hoolahan Starts As Ireland Aim To Conquer The Faroes

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting eleven for tonight’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands at the Aviva Stadium.

With James McCarthy and Shane Long suspended for the game, Trapattoni has been forced to make changes from the side which drew 1-1 with England at Wembley. Continue reading

Fenlon Praises Trap’s World Cup Strategy

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Pat Fenlon believes that blooding youngsters is the way ahead for international teams, and cites Ireland under Giovanni Trapattoni as an example for Scotland to follow.

As Scotland suffered the shame of being the first country to be eliminated from the World Cup, Ireland are still fighting it out with Sweden and Austria for a play-off spot.

Although he concedes that the Scots had the tougher group, Germany apart, Fenlon insists that introducing the youngsters into the squad at the right time is the reason why they are still challenging for a place in Rio next year. Continue reading

2012 Irish Sport Review

kbKieran Behan defied the odds to become the second ever Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics despite expectations that he would never walk again.

Connacht recorded their first ever victory in the Heineken Cup with a 9-8 win over Harlequins, but still finished bottom of their group.

Ireland kicked off their Six Nations campaign with a 21-23 defeat to Wales which was followed by a 42-10 victory over Italy.

Irish rugby fans were left stranded in Paris following late cancellation of France vs Ireland in the Six Nations.

Galway native Richard Donovan broke his own world record in Sydney, Australia as he ran seven marathons in the space of four days, 22 hours and four minutes.

The rescheduled Six Nations game against France ended in a 17-17 draw. The remaining fixtures were a 32-14 win over Scotland and finally a disastrous St. Patrick’s Day for the national side as they were beaten 30-9 by England.

Cork landed their third Allianz Football League Division One title in a row with a 2-10 0-11 victory over Mayo.

Irish-born Aussie Rules hall of famer Jim Stynes passed away at the age of 45 after losing his battle with cancer.

Kilkenny hammered Galway 3-26 to 0-10 to land National Hurling League Division One title.

Crusaders won the Setanta Sports Cup following a 5-4 victory on penalties against Derry City. The game was level at 2-2 after extra-time.

Katie Taylor won her fourth consecutive Amateur World Championship, beating Russian opponent Sofya Ochigava who she would later face in an historic sporting occasion.

Leinster landed the Heinken Cup after a 42-14 win over Ulster at Twickenham.

The Republic of Ireland crashed out of the Euro 2012 group stages as they failed to pick up a single point and scored just one goal. They were beaten 3-1 by Croatia, 4-0 by Spain and 2-0 by Italy.

The Airtricity League Premier Division lost another club as Monaghan United drop out due to financial reasons.

Cork, Dublin, Donegal and Mayo won their respective provincial Gaelic football titles

Tipperary, Galway and Antrim won their respective provincial Hurling titles.

Katie Taylor won gold for Ireland at the London Olympics. She recorded impressive victories over Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas and Tajikistan’s Mavzuna Chorieva before meeting Ochigava in a tightly contested Final which saw the Bray native triumph by a score of 10-8.ktJohn-Joe Nevin picked up silver while Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes won bronze in boxing at the London Olympics.

Cian O’Connor secured a bronze medal with his horse in the Individual Jumping event.

There was further success in London in the following weeks as the Irish Paralympic team returned home with a tally of 16 medals, their highest total since picking up 42 medals at the 1988 games in Seoul. They won 8 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 5 bronze medals.

jmcDonegal outshone Mayo to win their first All-Ireland title in 20 years. Jim McGuinness’ incredible year as Donegal manager did not go unnoticed abroad and he was handed a role as a performance consultant at Celtic just weeks later.

Kilkenny beat Galway in a replay of the All-Ireland Hurling Final to secure yet another title.

The Republic of Ireland avoided an embarrassing opening to their World Cup Qualifiers Group as they score two late goals to take three points away from Kazakhstan.

Drogheda United won the EA Sports Cup following a 3-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium.

Sligo Rovers won their first League of Ireland title since 1977 after beating fellow title contenders St. Patrick’s Athletic in a dramatic game as Mark Quigley’s 87th minute penalty proved to be the decisive goal.

Limerick were promoted to the top tier of Irish football for the first time in 19 years.

The Republic of Ireland suffered one of its heaviest ever defeats as Germany hammered them 6-1 at the Aviva Stadium. The Boys in Green respond with a 4-1 win away to the Faroe Islands days later.

dcfcDerry City were crowned as the FAI Ford Cup Champions following a 3-2 win over St. Patrick’s Athletic after extra-time.

Gaelic football loses one of its all-time greats as Kerry hero Paidi O’Se passes away aged 57.

By Alan Finn

FAI Reaffirm Faith In Trapattoni

The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed that Giovanni Trapattoni is to stay on as Republic of Ireland manager.

The association released a statement last night confirming that the Italian would continue in his role, one he has held for four years.

The statement read: “While disappointed like everyone with the poor result and performance against Germany and understanding the frustration of some of our supporters, [we] believe the current position in the group means that qualification for Brazil in 2014 remains a realistic and achievable prospect.

“[We] reaffirm that Giovanni Trapattoni is to remain in charge of the national team.”

Many dissenting voices have emerged in recent months since Trap guided Ireland to Euro 2012, where there abysmal form saw them bow out without a single point. Further pressure was heaped on the Italian following a stuttering last gasp win over Kazakhstan. However things really came to a head after last week’s 6-1 hammering at the hands of Germany.

Many believed Ireland’s trip to the Faroe Islands would be the end of the Trap era, especially as he cancelled a scheduled Dublin press conference the following day. However Ireland’s 4-1 win in Torshavn appears to have swayed the decision of the power holders at the FAI and Trap, who has only ever lost two qualifiers (Russia and Germany), will remain in charge until the end of the qualifiers at least.

“We believe the current position in the group means that qualification for Brazil in 2014 remains a realistic and achievable prospect”.

The statement continued: “The Board recognizes the depth of feeling surrounding the team, the performances, the results and the manager, reflecting the passion which everyone in Irish football has for the game and will continue to work closely with the manager.”

Injured Dunne On Standby As Trap Reveals Squad

Dunne: Race Against Time

Giovanni Trapattoni has revealed his squad for Ireland’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Faroe Islands.

The biggest talking point emanating from Trap’s decision is the fact that Richard Dunne has been named on standby as the influential Aston Villa defender is still struggling to overcome a groin injury.

The Italian is sweating on Dunne’s fitness ahead of the crunch visit of Germany to the Aviva but it looks unlikely that he will play any part in the October 12 showdown.

Many will be surprised by the omission of Robbie Brady, who tore Oman to shreds on his international debut. The Manchester United star has also been placed on standby, a decision which will shock many who felt he was a dead cert to make the final 23.

Elsewhere there’s a welcome return to the Ireland set up for Keith Andrews, who hasn’t featured since his dismissal at Euro 2012. Andrews was Ireland’s best player at Euro 2012 but whether he can regain his place from James McCarthy remains to be seen. Trap may even plump for Andrews alongside McCarthy with Glen Whelan missing out.

Whether or not James McClean will feature following his Twitter antics remains a hot topic of debate.

Keith Fahey returns to the squad after his Euro 2012 heartbreak while Seamus Coleman, Marc Wilson and Andy Keogh retain their positions.

Darren Gibson’s self imposed exile continues. Despite a slight knock the Everton midfielder has yet to contact Trap since making his decision prior to the Kazakhstan game.

Fans will be again discerned at the Italian’s stubbornness towards selecting Ciaran Clark, Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington.

Ireland will be needing a much improved performance from that faithful night in Astana if they are to have any hope of getting a positive result against a tough German side, who also have a point to prove having stumbled to a win over Austria.

The Italian has confessed he was too critical of his players after Kevin Doyle saved his bacon in our opening qualifier. How can one be over critical of a team that didn’t deserve anything and almost lost to a team ranked 142nd in the world?

Prior to the Kazakh game hope sprang eternal. The World Cup qualifying campaign was to be a new experience, something where both hope and expectations would be minimal given our disastrous Euro 2012 performance. Such an atmosphere was to enable the Boys In Green to go into battle and lift Irish spirits.

Sadly it did nothing but lower Irish spirits to a dark and dreary place, a place not seen since the erroneous reign of Steve Staunton.

After scraping past the Kazakhs it appears the only way is up but if Irish football has ever thought you anything it is to expect the unexpected. We may well soon be talking about a historic Irish victory or on the other hand we could be talking about a cataclysmic hammering at the hands of Schweinstieger and co.

Ireland squad v Germany and the Faroe Islands: Westwood, Forde, Randolph, Wilson, O’Shea, St Ledger, O’Dea, Ward, Kelly, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy, Andrews, Fahey, Coleman, McGeady, Keogh, McClean, Keane, Doyle, Long, Cox, Walters.

On standby: Dunne, Brady.

 

Blurred Future For New Irish Star

He was the darling of Irish under 21 football and a bright light at Hull City but since then Robbie Brady has been transformed into Ireland’s greatest prospect.

While few were bothered tuning into the recent friendly with Oman after the cataclysmic events of Astana, those that did will have been enthralled with the performance of the Manchester United star who marked his debut with a goal.

A much changed Ireland squad earned a 4-1 win that night. While the result was expected it was the performance of the team that lifted the spirit of the fans. Names such as Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy, two players Irish fans have longed to seen given an opportunity, stood out while Alex Pearce also bagged a debut goal. But it was the energetic performance of Brady that has everyone purring.

While Brady’s situation should be quite clear it is in fact very blurred thanks to Giovanni Trapattoni’s tactics. There is no doubt that the Dublin native will be in the squad for the upcoming Germany game but whether or not he gets a chance is a different question altogether. Ever since the Euro’s Trap has favoured playing a striker on the wing, for a reason only known to himself. Such tactics have seen Simon Cox, Shane Long and Kevin Doyle feature on the wing despite being proven strikers. Furthermore their inclusion has come at the expense of one of our prized assets, James McClean, whose exclusion and antics following Trap’s decision have been well documented since that very fortunate night in Astana.

But will Brady’s arrival on the senior stage change Trap’s mindset or are we to assume that Nottingham Forest striker Cox remains ahead of him despite not being a winger? While we’re on the subject of Cox, he is a team player and will play wherever he is asked, don’t blame him for his performances when played out of position.

It looks like Brady will be on the bench for the German game, although given McClean’s recent discrepancies he may well be fast tracked into the first team. Don’t hold out too much hope though.

Brady is definitely one for the future but may well need to leave Old Trafford in order to fulfil his promise and ignite his international career. A glittering loan spell at Hull City earned much praise from Sir Alex Ferguson, who saw the Irish star as a key member of his pre season panel. Fergie talked at length about Brady’s talents, confessing his desire to turn the Dubliner into a left back in order to provide cover for the ageing Patrice Evra. However Fergie appears to have gone back on his decision, given the recent signing of Alexander Buttner from Vitesse Arnhem. United boast an embarrassment of riches in Brady’s position and it is very hard to see where he will fit in.

He must remain content at Old Trafford until at least January where a loan spell may become a possibility. Having shone at Championship level it wouldn’t be out of question for him to make the step up to the Premier League. A lot of clubs in the top flight could do with a player of Brady’s quality and a move to the likes of Aston Villa or West Brom may well kickstart his top flight career.

For now Brady is the gem of Trap’s crown but come October 12th will he be the man who put the ball in the German net or merely another winger dispelled at the theory of a striker playing in his position?

Communication Scandal Envelops Ireland Setup

Ireland kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign this week with a trip to Astana for a first ever meeting with Kazakhstan but preparations for the campaign have been far from rosy.

Communication problems coupled with player retirements and withdrawals have hampered the plans of Giovanni Trapattoni. The retirement of veterans Shay Given and Damien Duff have become something of a blow to Trap yet the changeover should only be cosmetic as both Keiren Westwood and James McClean are able deputies.

But it is the apparent communication problems within the camp that have Irish fans wondering whether everyone in the panel is pulling in the same direction. Since Trap took the hotseat four years ago many players have come and gone , some willingly and others forced. Four names instantly jump to mind when wondering why the wily Italian’s tenure has been somewhat blighted with miscommunication.

Darren Gibson has pulled out of the Kazakh game citing his disappointment for not featuring at Euro 2012 as the reason behind his decision. Interestingly the Derry born player took his time in making the decision, waiting a number of days after the squad was announced to state his intentions. The in-form Everton star is no doubt riled at the fact that he didn’t feature at Euro 2012 and some reports even go as far as saying he almost walked out on the team during the tournament. While that may be mere speculation, Gibson is the latest in a line of players who have become fed up with the Italian’s antics.

You have to cast your mind back to the early days of the Trap era to see the apparent communication problems that ultimately led to the end of Andy Reid’s international career. The former Milan supremo imposed a curfew upon the Ireland team, one which was broken by several players including a guitar wielding Reid. His refusal to go to bed saw Trapattoni bring a sudden end to Reid’s once promising international career, a decision that has been met with furore by players and fans alike.

Pre Euro 2012 and post Euro 2012 have thrown up two other miscommunication conundrums which show that even with an interpreter it would appear Trapattoni still fails to get his message across.

Kevin Foley was a member of the Ireland squad which earned qualification for Euro 2012. The Wolves star was initially named in Trap’s squad for the trip to Poland and Ukraine despite picking up a hamstring injury. He was promised he would be given every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the tournament yet on the morning of the squad announcement he was cut from the panel and replaced Paul McShane, a move that left him “betrayed” and began a self imposed exile from the Ireland set up.

West Brom star Shane Long is another to have felt the wrath of the Italian in the wake of the recent Serbia friendly. Long was originally named to start in attack but shortly beforehand he was omitted and replaced by Simon Cox. He was furious and initially it appeared Trap’s reasoning was valid, the player was legitimately injured. However Long was quick to reveal he wasn’t , telling reporters after the game that he was perfectly fit to play the full 90 minutes. He would go on to feature for his club a few days later. His omission has raised a lot of questions about the communication skills of the Irish management team. In the days that followed Trapattoni launched a stinging attack on his striker branding him “idiotic”. While the misdemeanours of all involved havn’t resulted in Long’s omission from the squad it has raised many eyebrows amongst fans and media alike.

The communication problems have been further heightened by Gibson’s withdrawal ahead of such a crucial game. Gibson has been assured that he is more than welcome back into the Ireland set up for the Germany game next month yet the Everton star’s personal exclusion may well put an end to his Ireland career as he will fall down the pecking order if he prolongs his absence.

But what fans and the media really want to know and deserve to know is what the hell is going on behind the scenes? It is evidently clear that there are problems yet many are choosing to blow them under the carpet but not Shane Long. He has stood defiant with his actions following the Serbia game and rightly so, no player should suffer the indecency of having to offer a different excuse than that of his manager. Why wasn’t Trap honest about Long’s exclusion?

How can we prepare for such key games and expect to qualify for the World Cup with such turmoil? The FAI need to intervene immediately and eradicate the friction within the panel or else they risk allowing a manager whose pockets are laden with their money ruin the hopes of a nation.

Questions Remain As Ireland Set For Road To Brazil

The Republic of Ireland have been drawn in Group C with Germany, Sweden, Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan for the qualification stage of FIFA World Cup 2014.

The Boys In Green kick off on the road to Rio with an away trip to Kazakhstan on September 7th, before welcoming Germany to Dublin a month later. Giovanni Trapattoni will be hoping for a change in fortunes having missed out on the last World Cup thanks to that faithful night in Paris. Trap ventures towards the qualifying campaign still not knowing what players he has at his disposal. Shay Given has already announced his international retirement and will be replaced by Keiren Westwood, a player the Italian has a lot of faith in. But the likes of Richard Dunne, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane all have question marks remaining over their future. Trapattoni will be hopeful the trio can make swift decisions on their futures in order to allow him to prepare effectively for the upcoming campaign.

Germany

It’s an exciting time to be a German fan with the current squad at Joachim Loew’s disposal. World renowned stars such as Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinstieger, the rising talents of Marco Reus and Andreas Schurrle , they really do have the complete squad despite their failure to win Euro 2012.

The Germans always pose a threat to any team and this current crop of stars is no different. The beaten Euro 2012 semi finalists and Sweden will be Ireland’s biggest opponents as they seek to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Ireland face a tough start to the qualifiers and will need to get a favourable result when the Germans come to Dublin in October, something which is easier said than done. This Ireland team is in a period of transition both in terms of personnel and tactics. If the team isn’t settled prior to the October clash then it will be worrying what the Germans might do to us, especially when you consider our own performance at Euro 2012.

Germany are in a similar bracket to Spain and Italy. Many would bet against Ireland getting a result against Germany but then again it’s not something we haven’t done before. Remember Robbie Keane’s last ditch equaliser at the 2002 World Cup? Or more recently the nil all draw at Croke Park in 2007?

Nonetheless if Trap can diffuse the apparent tension within the squad at present and effectively reshuffle his pack, a positive result is achievable.

Sweden

The Swedes have come a long way since a 3-0 mauling in Dublin in 2006, the first match of Steve Staunton’s doomed managerial career as Ireland manager. Erik Hamren’s side competed at both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 although they narrowly missed out on the 201 World Cup.

Sweden were disappointing at Euro 2012. Many expected them to challenge France and England for the top two spots while the Ukraine were also in with a shout. Sweden lost their opening two games against Ukraine (1-2) and England (2-3) before conjuring up a credible 2-0 win over France but by that stage they were already eliminated. They failed to flatter at the Euros and much expectation was placed on the shoulders of the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but one man doesn’t make a team as was proven.

Ireland shouldn’t necessarily fear the Swedes, the two sides are fairly equal. If Ireland are to stand any chance of getting out of this group they must remain undefeated against the Swedes. A win in Dublin is vital while a draw in Stockholm would be credible.

Austria

Ireland will expect six points from their two meetings with Austria, a team they haven’t faced since suffering two successive 3-1 wins in 1995 whilst enroute to a Euro 96 playoff with Holland.

Austria have always been an average nation on the international front. The last competition they qualified for was the 1998 World Cup although they made an appearance at Euro 2008, thanks to their co-hosting responsibilities securing them automatic qualification.

They do however have some players who are more than capable of posing a threat to Irish aspirations. Marc Janko (FC Porto) and Marko Arnautovic (Werder Bremen) are two strikers that are well respected around Europe and offer a potent goal threat while rising Bayern Munich star David Alaba is also one to watch.

Faroe Islands

It was set up to be a battle between Trap and former Ireland manager Brian Kerr but sadly the former St Patricks Athletic manager has left his post in Torshavn despite making great strides with a poor team. The Faroes have never qualified for a major tournament.

The Faroe Islands are a country we have become accustomed to in recent years. They are always seen as the whipping boys of the group yet in the past we have found it tough against them although we always break them down in the end and come away with the victory.

You have to cast your mind back to the 2006 World Cup qualifiers to see the last time the Boys In Green battle the islanders, recording a 2-0 win in both the home and away tie. Similar scorelines should be plausible this time around. Goal difference may prove to be a factor in this group and if it does we must take our chances against the Faroes and not rest on our laurels.

 Kazakhstan

Ireland’s trek to Astana will see Trap’s side battle Kazakhstan for the first time ever, as the Kazakh’s only joined UEFA in 2002. The country has no record of ever qualifying for any major competitions and their status is best viewed by looking at their squad which boasts only two players who play outside the country.

The trek to Astana offers something of an unknown quantity yet despite the soaring heat and difficult conditions out there we should be able to record a comprehensive win to kickstart our campaign.

Predictions

1-Germany

2-Ireland

3-Sweden

4-Austria

5-Faroe Islands

6-Kazakhstan