Good end to a footballing year

Warren Feeney gave Northern Ireland decent draw in a friendly against a very handy Portuguese team. In rugby Ulsterman Andrew Trimble has been picked for Ireland’s face off against the Australians. Otherwise the team remains the same as the one trounced by New Zealand last Saturday.

  • slug

    Great end to the year for NI.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    We’re NOT Brazil, We’re NORN IRON!

    I’m glad- the comments after the game by the Portugal manager, Brazilian “Phil” Scolari, were a complete and utter disgrace…the words sour and grapes come to mind

  • TOT

    great stuff, most important thing is that we can get a result without some of our bigger names (i know it was only a friendly)

  • idunnomeself

    we normally do worse in friendies

    hard to tell much from this game, we were short 3 of our 6 key players, and Portugal hardly pushed towards the end.

    They look a far better outfit than England though..

  • Concerned Loyalist

    idunnomeself,
    Portugal aren’t a patch on the current England side. Their midfield is undoubtedly one of the best in the world, with Costinha, Deco, Ronaldo and Maniche. (I can’t remember if Rui Costa and Luis Figo have retired- if not they are both world class midfielders who exude class nad will add to the creativity of the midfield).
    However, first choice ‘keeper Ricardo is prone to errors, their defence is shaky and they need another potent striker to play up alongside their record goalscorer Pauleta, and Nuno Gomes and Luis Boa Morte aren’t the men for the job.

    If England can beat sides like the Argies when it really matters, I believe they will win the World Cup. Behind Brazil I regard Argentina as the best team in the world and my second choice as winners behind England. Their only possible weakness is their goalkeeper, which gives England an advantage as Paul Robinson is a safe pair of hands.
    Ayala, Samuel and Heinze, if fit for the World Cup, would be their 3 central defenders, a solid and skilful unit. Wingbacks Javier Zanetti and Juan Pablo Sorin are an attacking threat and can both defend competently. In the playmaker role, whether they play Veron or Riquelme they will have a key to unlock the most miserly of defences. The other two probable starting midfielders, Cambiasso and Rodriguez, who ply their trade at Inter and Villareal respectively, know what it is like to play against Brazil’s key men regularly, Kaka and Ronaldinho. And up front they have two class acts- the experienced and still potent Crespo who will be fired up to win a major tournament after losing the Champions League Final in such dramatic fashion, and the young Carlos Tevez, who I believe will make a big name for himself in Germany.

    So if anyone has a spare £70 lying around I suggest you put £50 on England winning it and £20 on Argentina as I don’t see it being Brazil, Holland, Italy or the hosts, Germany’s year…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I went to school with Andrew Trimble. I wish him all the best for Saturday against the Aussies. Although I was never that friendly with him, I respected his sincere Christian beliefs and found him to be a good, level-headed and down-to-earth chap.

  • darth rumsfeld

    let’s have a few minute’s silence for all those chickens in Moy Park Dungannon, going to get their necks wrung by the Portuguese workforce this morning, all in a foul (fowl?) mood because of last night’s match.
    And to be fair to Big Phil, we are a bunch of cluggers- always have been, always will be.
    No doubt someone will be on complaining that the jolly banter directed towards Ronaldo (“Going to jail, going to jail, going to jail!”) proves we’re all a bunch of bigots, cos he’s probably a Catholic.
    Surely we must now be in the top 10 FIFA rankings?

  • idunnomeself

    CL:

    I agree with you re Argentina, but I don’t think they would have lost that match had it been in the world cup finals.

    One swallow doesn’t make a summer, English Hubris again. I just don’t think they can cut it as they play the wrong style of football to win a major championship. They let the other team have too much of the ball.

    Not sure about Brazil this year, I suppose they will be bringing in younger players that I don’t know so well.

    So who are you supporting with no Irish teams and no Scotland in it this time?

  • DanDaMan

    Well, its a wee bit after the match but im only getting the chance to post now. Good to see that there arent any allegations of bigotry against the norn iron fans this time! I couldnt get tickets to the kop in time and had to settle for a south stand seat, was pleasantly surprised by the banter and craic and some singing. I believe the “youre supposed to be in jail” dig at Ronaldo was actually started in the south stand and all! I took a mate of mine to the match, it being only his second ever football match and first visit to Windsor for a norn iron match and he was suitably impressed and eager to return. Oh did I mention hes a Catholic?
    On to the match itself. I think norn iron played a decidedly defensive strategy in the first half, and ended up very pinned back and gave Portugal a lot of time on the ball. Ronaldo had a lot of freedom of movement. Well done to our back four and to super Maik Taylor for their efforts until Stevie Craigans own goal in the 41st.
    If anything, this game was proof positive that football is a game of two halves. Laurie must have some secret bollocking formula which he injects at half time, for the lads came out with a renewed vigour and took the game to opposition. They attacked with confidence and forced Portugal back a lot more than I dare say they expected and finally managed to break some delph on the right flank. (I never like to see Keith Gillespie playing as a glorified right wing back lol) Feeney took his chance well and all credit to him for his overall performance. I dont think hes quite up to Sir Davids level, but the same lad ran his socks off for the team and was central to most of norn iron counter attacking movements toward the portuguese goal in the first half.
    Anyone else think the crowd were a wee bit subdued compared to other nights? hey, maybe were actually expecting to score now lol
    Anyhoo, well done lads on ending an enjoyable year on a high note. Well NEVER forget the night we beat England and though other results might not have been just as impressive, the slow burning progress that Laurie has made and holds together does give cause for optimism!
    Incidentally, the Portugal match is the last until Wednesday March 1st, when we play Estonia in a friendly at home, and apparently there are on-going negotiations to bring Italy over in May for a third and final “prestige” friendly to close the 125th commemorative year. £22 a ticket again then no doubt lol Look forward to seeing you all there! GREEN AND WHITE ARMY!!!!

  • DanDaMan

    o aye! Friday 18th December is the official date of the 125th anniversary of the foudation of the IFA, so well done lads, and heres to 125 more!!!!!!!!!!! GREEN AND WHITE ARMY!!!!

  • DanDaMan

    yes yes im aware that i got the month wrong, the anniversary was on Friday 18th November ffs!!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Idunnomeself,

    I’m an ardent Norn Iron fan, but as we haven’t reached a World Cup finals since 1986, I have been supporting England since Italia 90, even though I was only the tender age of 5! When Scotland make it into the major tournaments I support them also, and I have to say I find it tricky to choose allegiance when they play each other, such as Euro 96, because like us they’re both British countries. I would support Wales too, but like us I never get a chance too as they never qualify…

  • Concerned Loyalist,

    Your post is bizarre! Identity crisis or what? I presume you decided to “support” other countries as you deem them to be British. Firstly, it is not possible to “support” ANOTHER country. We are all of us born in just one country and surely that it is who we should always follow. Your argument that you are a Northern Ireland fan but have decided to “support” other countries for the past FIFTEEN years just because Northern Ireland werent succesful is ludicrous. I dont support Northern Ireland but I know many NI fans who absolutely HATE England. I have also yet to ever meet a Scotland fan who wanted England to win in any circumstances. Where does your definition end? Will you support Australia in The World Cup if England go out as they are a Commonwealth country? At that rate you will be supporting half the countries in the world…

  • TAFKABO

    I have also yet to ever meet a Scotland fan who wanted England to win in any circumstances.

    Well, this Scotland fan always wishes the other home nations good luck, as long as they are not playing Scotland, and this includes my English neighbours.

    Pleased to meet you macswinney.

  • idunnomeself

    Well I am afraid to say that I am a member of the ‘anyone but England’ brigade. It’s an instinct, my mind tells me that England are near neighbours and I follow a club team there and know lots of English people, but even when in college there I would be cheering on Argentina and cheering when Beckham was sent off.

    But I want to follow someone in the world cup, it makes it more interesting, maybe Trinadad and Tobago!

    CL
    Suggest the Dutch 😉