Football round-up

Scotland’s impressive run ends with a 2 goal away defeat. Wales and Republic of Ireland restores some pride, the Welsh with a 3-1 win and the Irish with a 1-1 draw. Northern Ireland 1-0 home victory meets Lawrie’s target of 4 points out of 6. England suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Croatia.

  • return of the jazz workshop

    just seen Steve Staunton’s post match interview on Sky.
    I really think he was drunk!?

  • Rory

    Oh, who cares? England marmalised ( yet again).

    Let us all sing that hymn given us by the Blessed Margaret of Grantham, “Rejoice! Rejoice!”

  • William Joyce

    Here is Stan moaning he didn’t get 3 points. No one’s fault. He is such a boring speaker I don’t think Arthur Morgan’s seat is under threat. I hopew San Marino get a result against him just to hear him moan.

  • Ziznivy

    Superb performance from Northern Ireland in the first half. Clingan was masterful throughout. A Premiership club will come knocking if he continues to play like that. Baird was also excellent. A real pick-me-up after the post away trip lethargy.

    In the second we stopped and we made things more exciting than they should have been. My voice is gone from screaming advice!

  • Tochais Siorai

    The worst possible result for the ROI. Whatever slim chance was there to qualify is now gone and yet the ‘great battling display’ means we’re stuck with Stan and Ollie (Delaney).

    Sanchez is the man – If Ahern has any balls he’ll threaten to restore Articles 2 & 3 in St Andrews today if we can’t have him.

  • Carson’s Cat

    NI played Latvia off the park in the first half – not just as convincing in the second but still a very solid performance from OWC. Atmosphere in WP was excellent as usual, but maybe not just at the heights of what it was for the Spain match (But you cant expect that every time). Good to hear Steve Davis’ new song getting a few airings!

    Good result for the Republic – hopefully will keep Staunton in the job for a while longer and no NI fan will be sad to see that 😉 Mind you – he’s definately more secure than McClaren and Paul Robinson should be nominated for next year’s comedy awards. Croatia were all over England for the entire match; or at least it looked that way from watching the highlights.

    Bring on the new rankings whenever FIFA release them!!!

  • William Joyce

    Tochais and Carson: Have to agree with your both. Stan is so bad he is funny. But to be fair to Mother England, Croatia have a good track record. And they are really into the pride of the jersey. Prior to the wars of the Yugoslav sucession, in Australia, all Croat teams would tog out in the national (Croatian) colours.
    The Dublin papers make patehtic reading today. All about the great result, which puts them slightly above San Marino. It would be great of the people of that leftsit pimple get a result against Stan, ho is talking about qualifying. What a joker.

  • GrassyNoel

    Well in fairness to Stan he wasn’t at fault for the fact that we drew instead of winning; the fault for that lies squarely at the feet of John O’Shea (who was turning around gesturing to the crowd, as far as I could make out in the replay, when CR took a quick free kick, leaving young McShane trying desperately to rescue the situation) and Robbie Keane (missed an absolute sitter with 4 minutes remaining).

    However he really needs to cop himself on with regards to how he performs in front of the cameras himself. He is constantly self-contradicting – last month it wasn’t his fault we were playing poorly because he didn’t have the players available due to injury and the players who were available just weren’t good enough and that was why he was effectively writing off this campaign with a 4-year plan etc; last night he said he had faith in the players at his disposal and always had. His statements before and after games just don’t make sense and that only adds to the impression that he is sending out teams of headless chickens. Ireland SHOULD have won last night, and although Germany on the balance of play deserved to win that game, we were somewhat unlucky with the deflected goal. We should be sitting joint top of the group with 7 points at this stage and the fact that we aren’t is due to Staunton’s inexperience and incompetence, pure and simple.

    It bears repeating over and over: If Greece could come from nowhere to win the Euro 2004 championship with a team of absolute nobodies, then it is nonsense to suggest that we shouldn’t have realistically been expecting to qualify for this tournament at the beginning of the campaign. The problem is down to a laissez-faire attitude towards training and preparation, as well as focusing on the importance of each game, which in turn stems from the lack of belief that we will ever achieve anything at international level.

    The ghost of Saipan still haunts Irish Football, and while last night’s performance was a big step in the right direction, the jury is still out on whether Staunton is the right man to carry the torch of the Roy Keane mentality. Keane even alluded to the fact that Staunton’s refusal to get involved on either side during that row always ‘puzzled’ him, to use a euphamism. How than this guy seriously be regarded as a leader of men when he sat down the back of the room when that situation exploded all around him, kept his head down and said nothing, leaving it to the likes of iall Quinn to try and find a resolution? For all the abuse he ended up getting from all sides, at least Quinn got up off his arse and tried to do something to rectify the situation. All Staunton did was quietly accept the armband and run away from the cameras and microphones because he didn’t want to be caught in the glare of the spotlight.

    Dealing with the media is a by-product of success no matter what field of achievement you are in. Stan needs to grow up and realise that. And I won’t even bother gettuing started on Delaney, that’s a whole other post.

  • Yokel

    I genuinely think Stan is mentally not up to this. His interviews were funny but, on reflection, he’s so tense that I’m not sure his sphincter is able to relax never mind his jaw.

    The draw was the nightmare scenario as pointed out elsewhere as it restores the pride factor and gets the ‘battling’ tag, thus keeping Staunton from the chop. The key games I believe are against the Welsh in terms of where ROI stand the big scheme of things. I’m sure things will improve for him but he’s facing a 4th in the group as the best I’d reckon.

    GrassyNoel no point in nearly or we should haves….

    As for Northern Ireland, dare I say it again, a Binghamesque 1-0. The worry is that all the goals are in the hands of one man. He’ll likely be suspended for 1 game at some point in this qualifying. I have no doubt they can get a result against the Swedes who have been churning out great results but actually don’t look special at all.

  • Ballymoney Boy

    Please don’t ‘big up’ Sammy Clingan as he’s the only decent player we have at Forest!

  • mason boyne

    Interesting that the bookies have both NI and the Republic at exactly the same odds to qualify from their respective groups.

    Depending on your viewpoint this must mean that, like NI, the Republic must be in with a great chance or alternatively means that NI fans have lost the run of themselves and in reality their gallant team has no hope of qualifying just like their under-performing neighbours.

  • Patrique

    Frank Lampard has been nominated for World player of the year. Is soccer still a sport, or pure economics?

  • Billy


    I think the bookies are correct in their predictions (although I would currently give NI better odds than the RoI).

    The RoI certainly won’t qualify and, frankly, I don’t think NI will either. However, if they can finish 3rd in that group (behind Sweden and Spain) – that’s quite an achievement.

    In some ways, I wish the RoI had got thumped last night. This result will probably keep Stauton and Delaney in place until the end of the campaign.

    This must clearly be a restructuring phase for the RoI team. They clearly have some good young players coming through. However, we need a manager who can start giving them a chance and building for the World Cup 2010 qualifiers.

    The longer Staunton stays – the more damage he will do. I just hope that he has the decency to walk sooner rather than later – as the FAI will never have the guts to admit they made a mistake and sack him.

    I think Lawrie Sanchez will get his reward with a managers job at a decent English Championship club after the Euro 2008 campaign.

  • mason boyne

    but who would stand out as a quality candidate(and indeed would be willing to take the job)to replace Staunton?

    As for Sanchez,if he keeps this up he is likely to be poached by a premiership club-maybe Fulham or Newcastle?

  • willowfield

    Ridiculous attitude to Staunton by Republic fans.

    Give the man a chance. He got a good result last night, and they put up a good performance in Germany. He has an average team to work with; he’s a new manager – be patient.

  • Billy


    I’m not a fair weather fan. Although I was initially very sceptical of Staunton’s appointment, I was prepared to give him a chance. However, don’t forget he had no managerial pegigree at all. I think that he was appointed on the basis of having played for some great managers. However, football history is littered with great players that you would have thought would be great managers and who weren’t.

    There’s no logic to it – the 3 best managers in the EPL (Ferguson, Wenger + Morinho) were all very average players.

    I thought Bobby Robson’s appointment was a great idea. Unfortunately, due to non footballing reasons, it hasn’t worked.

    I honestly believe that Stauton has already proved that he can’t do it. The performance against Cyprus was unbelievably awful – it could have been 10 and his tactical mistakes were the main reason. He looks terrified when he speaks to the press and his statements are often contradictory.


    I agree that there are no real candidtaes to replace Stauton at the moment. I think the FAI have 2 options.

    If Staunton does see out this campaign, the FAI need to bring in someone to replace Robson (Dalglish?) to ensure that the young players get some experienced coaching and, frankly, limit the damage that Stauton can do.

    If Staunton goes, let Don Givens (under 21 manager) give the fringe players and young players a go.

    Either way, the FAI must be in a position to get a GOOD EXPERIENCED mananger in place as far in adavnce of the World Cup 2010 qualifiers as possible.

    With regard to Sanchez, I don’t think that Newcastle would risk him (his record with Wycombe was average). However, I could certainly see a smaller premiership team like Fulham being interested.

  • English


    Celebrate England’s defeat all you like, but I suggest you should study these tables perhaps! England lost to a good team Croatia, who have not lost in Zagreb for 12 years! We have our hardest game out of the way, and are still in with a chance – unlike some.

    1 Czech Republic 4 3 1 0 13 2 11 10
    2 Germany 3 3 0 0 18 1 17 9
    3 Slovakia 4 2 0 2 12 9 3 6
    4 Wales 3 1 0 2 5 8 -3 3
    5 Cyprus 3 1 0 2 7 11 -4 3
    6 Rep of Ireland 3 0 1 2 3 7 -4 1
    7 San Marino 2 0 0 2 0 20 -20 0

    European Championship Qualifying : Group E Table
    P W D L F A GD PTS
    1 Croatia 3 2 1 0 9 0 9 7
    2 England 4 2 1 1 6 2 4 7
    3 Israel 3 2 1 0 6 2 4 7
    4 FYR Macedonia 4 2 1 1 4 1 3 7
    5 Russia 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
    6 Estonia 3 0 0 3 0 4 -4 0
    7 Andorra 4 0 0 4 1 19 -18 0

  • austin


    Don Givens has an abysmal record at Under 21 level and is a perfect example of a good player who can’t manage.
    As to a lesser extent is Dalglish.

    I think Staunton deserves a chance and to sack a manager on the back of threee competiyive games is absurd (two decent performance against good team and an admittedly very poor performance aganst a weak country.

    I travelled down from Belfast to the game last night and the support was brilliant because expectation levels have reduced to a level more commensurate with a country with a small professional player base.

    Had we beaten Cyprus, the crowd would have shown increasing impatience the longer the Czech game was scoreless. However last night,the team was cheered throughout the game. As a result, the players performed very well against a team ranked 7th in the world.

    Give Staunton at least a full campaign to prove himself.

  • Billy


    I accept that Givens is poor – I was talking about a very temporary appointment – his only advantage being that he knows the younger players very well.

    I don’t agree about Dalglish – he won the double at Liverpool and the Premiership at Blackburn. I know he had a lot of money at Blackburn but there have been plenty of managers with massive budgets who have won nothing. Again, I’m only talking about an 18 month appointment to utilise his experience for this camapaign.

    No-one would be happier than I if Staunton proves me wrong – I’d love it.

    I accept that recent events have made we RoI fans have more realistic expectations. This was always a difficult group and qualification ahead of Germany + Czech republic was never easy.

    However, the fact is that Staunton had 6 moths as assistant Walsall manager before this job. That is a hell of a jump for any manager. If he is to stay (for this camapaign anyway), the FAI must give him some help by replacing Robson with another experienced figure.

    The downside of this is that, not only will we not make Euro 2008, but we will get a harder draw for World Cup 2010.

    I truly believe that Stauton won’t do it – when you look at the Cyprus match in an analytical manner – it was the worst RoI performance I’ve ever seen (against a team that lost their previous match 6 -1!!!)

    I think (and hope) that, if the team is still looking bad at the end of this campaign then Stauton will go of his own volition. If the FAI are professional (what a joke), they will have targetted a manager to take over and get as much preparation for the World Cup 2010 matches as possible.