Posts Tagged ‘ Richard Dunne ’

Ireland To Deal Erik’s Swedes A Hamr’ Blow

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Richard Dunne is back at the heart of the Irish defence for tonight’s crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier against Sweden at the Aviva Stadium (7.45pm) .

The Queens Park Rangers defender will win his 78th cap after recovering from the injury which forced him to miss almost all of last season for club and country. Continue reading

Trap Names Provisional Squad For Double Header

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Giovanni Trapattoni today announced a provisional 29 man squad for Ireland’s upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Sweden on September 6 in Aviva Stadium, and Austria on September 10 Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna.

The squad will be shortened ahead of the fixture in order to accommodate injuries etc.  Continue reading

Five Irish Players Who Need A Move This August

kdAs all football fans know, the summer transfer window is a time of upheaval with fresh starts, new challenges and last chances for managers and players alike. However, sometimes there is a select few players that may be in need of a move to rekindle or enhance their international career.

Here we take a look at five Irish stars who all need a move before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August. 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

Four Uncapped Players In Irish Squad For Poland Clash

jhNorwich City’s Anthony Pilkington has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad to face Poland next month.

Pilkington, a standout performer in the Premier League this season had been capped at Under-21 level back in 2008. The decision to call up the 24 year old will go down well with fans who feel it should have happened a lot sooner. Continue reading

Emergence Of Clark May Force Dunne Into Retirement

Ireland battle Germany this Friday in a crucial World Cup qualifier, one that has been overshadowed by the withdrawal of star names such as Kevin Doyle and James McClean. While preparations have been far from perfect, one man may well step out of the limelight and stake his claim for a regular starting spot.

That man is Ciaran Clark, the Aston Villa defender who has been called into the squad to replace the injured Sean St Ledger. Clark comes from a famous stable of Irish Villa defenders which includes Paul McGrath and Richard Dunne, with Clark looking to oust the latter as he seeks to make himself a regular for both club and country.

Clark has thrived in the Premier League this season, forming a partnership with new Villa signing Ron Vlaar while Dunne has been forced to watch on from the sidelines. Paul Lambert doesn’t expect Dunne to return to action before Christmas and if he had his way Dunne would be plying his trade at Stoke City now but a deadline day fell through due to the Tallaght native’s injury.

Clark should be fast tracked into the Ireland first team for the Germany game but Giovanni Trapattoni may choose to play Paul McShane alongside Darren O’Dea. Trap’s refusal to omit Clark to date has been somewhat surprising but he may be brave and hand the Villa star a chance, it may well be Clark’s own Moscow moment if he can deny Mario Gomez and co.

Should Clark get his opportunity it may well spell the beginning of the end for Dunne’s Ireland career as the veteran may feel forced into an early retirement thanks to the emergence of his team mate. But if the Trap era has thought us anything it is to not expect what should be the expected. Nonetheless Clark should be worthy of a run out against Faroe Islands next week.

Belgians Show Ireland That Success Starts At Home

European football is currently witnessing a revolution, one that has been simmering under the limelight for the past few seasons but is now fully realising its potential.

The football world has become synonymous with names like Dembele, Hazard and Verthongen, the backbone of a blossoming Belgium side that many are tipping for future success. Belgium, like Ireland, has never exactly been a football haven. There national side has enjoyed more success than Ireland in terms of qualifying for events but still it’s nothing worth bragging about. At club level its pretty much a similar story as Belgian teams have had limited success on the European front. Where it not for Anderlecht and Standard Liege then this revolution may not have been possible.

To the aforementioned trio add the names of Kompany, Vermaelen, Defour, Witsel, Fellaini and Lukaku, all household names on the European stage and it’s not hard to see why this team managed by Belgian hero Marc Wilmots looks set to shine. Throw rising stars in there such as Mirallas, Alderweireld and De Bruyne and one begins to instantly wonder how this team never made it to Euro 2012. Perhaps the Euros came too soon but Belgium were quite unlucky finishing two points off a playoff spot in what was a tough qualification group featuring a German side who won ten out of ten and a Turkish outfit  who narrowly pipped Belgium to second place.

The new golden generation of Belgium looks set to outshine its predecessors, who reached six successive World Cup’s between 1982-2002, which included a  4th place finish in 1986. They even finished as runners up at Euro 1980. Wilmots side have enjoyed a solid start to qualifying for Brazil 2014 grinding out a 2-0 win over Wales and a 1-1 draw with Croatia which is no mean feat, Irish fans would certainly agree.

But for all the prospects and potential this Belgian team has one wonders how Ireland cannot produce such a model for success giving we are country of a similar nature. Yes the Belgian population is double that of Ireland but in reality what does population matter if one has correct infrastructure?

The Belgian FA have incorporated a model for success, they are willing to do everything possible to provide themselves with success. The vision of Belgian football is quickly changing thanks in large part to the motivational factor whereby such a small country takes pride from punching well above their weight. Ireland have a similar outlook yet finances dictate success. Nonetheless the quality of the current Belgium team compared to Ireland is astounding as any of the Belgian players would walk into the Irish set up.

In recent years we have witnessed a reversal of our fortunes. The old guard of Given and Duff have retired while Dunne and Keane are on their last leg. Our input into European competition and the Premier League has steadily declined year after year. After all, how many Irish players will feature in this year’s Champions League?

Contrast this steady decline with the fortunes of the respective clubs in Belgium and Ireland. This season sees Anderlecht make a welcomed return to the Champions League group stages, a feat the 31 time Belgian champions last enjoyed in the 2006/07 season. The Belgian champions boast ten Belgians in their squad. Combine this ten with the current Belgian stars at other Champions League clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Zenit and it’s not hard to see the Belgians mean business. Meanwhile, Aiden McGeady holds his head high as Ireland’s sole Champions League representative and League of Ireland clubs remain light-years’ away from reaching Europe’s premier club competition.

Of course we can talk with a bit more excitement when it comes to the Europa League. After all Shamrock Rovers did enjoy success qualifying for the group stages last year. However this historic feat was quickly forgotten as the Hoops failed to earn a single point and bowed out of the competition. How long will we wait for another Irish club to break such ground, something the Belgian sides do year upon year with relative ease.

The old adage that success starts at home is universally true. This rising Belgian outfit would be nothing where it not for the backing it’s football association affords its national league. Contrast this with Ireland and the ever lacking FAI involvement in the League of Ireland and it’s not hard to see why we are struggling at both international and club level. Indeed it says something about the difference between the LOI and the Pro League when you consider the numerous Irish stars who had to move abroad in recent years to get a sniff at pulling on the green jersey.

So while Wilmots leads this golden generation onto bigger and better things Irish fans can only wonder what might have been if the FAI had a similar dedication to that of their Belgian counterparts. The longer the FAI are devoid of hope and enthusiasm the longer Irish football as a whole will suffer.

 

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.

 

End of an Era As Ireland’s Greatest Calls It A Day

Ireland winger Damien Duff has announced his retirement from the international game, following in the footsteps of Shay Given.

The Fulham star brought an end to his 14 year stint in the Irish jersey ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The 33-year-old earned his 100th and final cap when he led the national side against Italy at Euro 2012.

The Dubliner has been a regular in the side since making his debut against the Czech Republic in 1998.

Shay Given, the Republic of Ireland’s most-capped player of all time, announced his retirement earlier this month after an international career that saw him make 125 appearances for the Boys in Green. Doubts remain over the future of Richard Dunne while the Irish management team have hinted that captain Robbie Keane will remain in the fold.

Duff told the Football Association of Ireland’s website: “I found it very difficult to make this decision, not least for the respect in which I hold Giovanni Trapattoni.

“I have enjoyed so many good times in the green jersey and want to thank everyone involved, especially the fans for making the last 14 years so special.

“I want to wish Giovanni, Marco [Tardelli] and everyone involved with the Irish team every success for the future and will be supporting them every step of the way.”

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni said: “Damien will be missed by us and by Irish fans everywhere.

“He was immensely skilful and a great example to the players who come after him. I give him my warmest best wishes for his future career.”

Duff, who featured at both the World Cup 2002 and Euro 2012, will be remembered fondly by Irish fans for his skilful displays on the wing. The Ballyboden native was a handful for every opposition defence and Ireland’s World Cup opponents will no doubt be glad he has called it a day.

The former Blackburn, Chelsea and Newcastle star was arguably in his prime during the World Cup in 2002 when he was voted Ireland’s player of the tournament. The winger did his best to lift the spirits of a team plagued by infighting and scored a memorable goal against Saudi Arabia, after which he made a bowing gesture to the adoring Asian fans. To this day he is still revered for that gesture and held in high esteem by Asian football fans, some of whom have visited The Cottagers training ground in order to catch a glimpse of the star.

Tributes have been flooding in quickly for Duff, who will go down in history as one of Ireland’s greatest ever players.

Shortly after he announced his decision some of his Irish colleagues took to Twitter to offer their praise for the wing wizard and darling of Irish football.

Shay Given (@No1ShayGiven) “Sorry to see Damien Duff has retired from international football. It was an honour to play with such a great player & pro. Well done Duffer.”

Simon Cox (@SCoxy31real) “Sad to see the news about Duffers decision to retire I can say what a absolute gent and true pro he was. It was an honour to play with him.”

Sean St Ledger  (@seanstledger12)  “Really sad to hear of Duffers international retirement. He’s a true legend and it’s been an honour to play with him. He’ll be missed in camp.”

The Ireland squad to face Kazakhstan was announced shortly after Duff’s decision to retire. The following squad will travel to Astana on September 7th.

Westwood, Forde, Randolph, Wilson, O’Shea, St Ledger, O’Dea, Ward, Kelly, McShane, Gibson, McCarthy, Coleman, O’Brien, McGeady, Keogh, McClean, Keane, Doyle, Long, Cox, Walters.

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