Low expectations..?

NORTHERN Ireland might be above Wales in the international rankings, but the fans will be looking for revenge tomorrow night, as the visitors beat them at Windsor Park last year (guess who went for a burger at half time and missed the two NI goals because of the queue – doh!) Goal hungry Healy is out due to injury, but sure it’s only a ‘friendly’!

  • Ziznivy

    This game was a bad idea. The most likely outcome, given a weakened Northern Ireland side, is a draw or defeat. A win will make little difference to us and a defeat would damage confidence going into the qualifiers next month. I’d have preferred for this game to be skipped, maybe with the players meeting up for some training.

    On a different note, why are the tickets so amateur and crappy looking for this game?

  • BP1078

    Got to agree with Ziznivy.
    I’ll predict a narrow loss which in the big scheme of Euro 2008 is neither here nor there, but a training get-together or a knockabout against an IL team would have made more sense.

    But with a big crowd and minimal outlay for travel expenses for the Welsh, Howard & Co will be quids in and that’s all that counts,really isn’t it?

  • marty (not ingram)

    So how many posts will there be before this thread turns into the usual NI rant-fest?

  • BP1078

    marty
    Well then, any thoughts about the game?

  • marty (not ingram)

    Not of the game as such – however what was the outcome of that report that said Windsor was not fit for purpose and would require a serious amount of money to repair?

  • marty (not ingram)

    Just to add to the above – I propose moving to the Oval until the new stadium is built :O)

  • BP1078

    Heh! Heh!
    That would be very handy indeed for me…

    Regarding the short-term conditon of the ground, supposedly interim measures have been carried out

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/irish/6323193.stm

    Medium term, the problem is, afaik, the various safety legislation passed in England, after the Bradford fire 1985, didn’t apply to NI grounds-bearing in mind the size of crowds and lack of cash, not that surprising perhaps.

    But having seen the state of the exits last year in Copenhagen and at, for example,the away end at Villa Park, I’ve got to say this safety issue isn’t always solved, even with the modernising of grounds and if all the UEFA/FIFA regulations are followed

  • harpo

    Why play Wales?

    What NI needs – as do the other home ‘nations’ – is more experience playing against non-UEFA competition.

    But all they seem to do is play the same old Euro teams over and over again.

    Playing the other home nations is the worst of all. The games are played at a frantic pace because pride is at stake. No one learns anything new.

    I see they are thinking about starting up a home nations championship, but with the ROI replacing England. That will be even more pointless. Spending all your time playing friendlies against the local competition isn’t going to get anyone anywhere.

    Why can’t NI play an Asian or African team? That would let them try something different instead of endless games against Wales.

  • Geo

    This has been one of the most anticipated friendlies at Windsor I can remember in years – Wales are quite evenly matched with us and if it’s as good a game as the two World Cup qualifiers we’re in for a cracker tonight.

    A run out against an Irish League team BP1078?! What use would that be??! With the withdrawals of Healy et al more ‘fringe’ players will be used tonight and will gain vital experience playing a half decent side for the two tough qualifiers next month (Liechtenstein away will not be a picnic).

    And Harpo, there’s no point playing an African or Asian side. Yes, it would be treat to see Cameroon or South Korea at Windsor but let’s face it, it is the other European sides and their style of football that we need to master before we can start dreaming of a World Cup!

    Enjoy the game.

  • darth rumsfeld

    yeah but- in England tonight are teams from Australia, Brazil, Portugal, Ghana, Greece and others I can’t remember… oh yeah..and Engerland. Surely with the UK now a base for so many foreigners we could get someone more entertaining than the leekmunchers- a team that might respect our national anthem. What about the Socceroos, with Ulster descendant and thuggish moneygrabber Lucas Neill?

  • Maybe we could even persuade the ‘Murkans to play on the oul sod some time? That would be worth watching surely.

  • harpo

    ‘And Harpo, there’s no point playing an African or Asian side. Yes, it would be treat to see Cameroon or South Korea at Windsor but let’s face it, it is the other European sides and their style of football that we need to master before we can start dreaming of a World Cup!’

    Geo:

    I can’t agree.

    You learn by being stretched, by facing new situations and styles you haven’t seen before.

    That’s true for everything in life, and especially true in football. England get it – that’s why they aren’t going for this new version of the home internationals. They know that it is pointless to keep getting involved in scrappy games against the local rivals over and over again.

    As for fan anticipation, fans are fickle. They want to see the local rivalry games over and over and over again. Or they take the ‘let’s play against the style we have to deal with first’ attitude.

    I don’t care – knock yoursleves out by playing Wales, the ROI and Scotland over and over again, with the odd game against Estonia or whoever thrown in.

    You learn nothing new. It’s just the same old same old. But you’re happy wallowing in that, aren’t you?

    If NI ever did get to a World Cup it would be the same old story for British teams. Good performances against European opposition, and foul ups against those damn non-Europeans. I always think it’s the colonial attitude, that this is our game and African and Asians can’t teach us anything, but those days have long gone.

    Scotland had to learn this the hard way at World Cup after World Cup in the 70s and 80s, but there is no excuse for it these days.

  • harpo

    ‘but- in England tonight are teams from Australia, Brazil, Portugal, Ghana, Greece and others I can’t remember’

    Darth:

    That’s exactly the thinking that is needed.

    Gone are the days where folks mostly played in their own countries, and it was hard to travel.

    These days most countries can build a team from the western European leagues, and that’s why there are so many of these games in England and other parts of western Europe.

    Look at Brazil and Argentina. Most of their best players are in Europe, so organizing games for their squad in Europe makes sense. And they get experience playing other sorts of teams. They don’t feel the need to head home to play the same 9 other south American teams that they play endlessly in qualifying tournaments.

    Most NI fans can’t get this sort of thinking – doing something different. They’d rather see endless games against England, Wales and Scotland. The games may involve local pride and passion, but they don’t teach the NI players anything.

  • harpo

    ‘Northern Ireland and Wales failed to produce a goal in Tuesday’s uninspiring friendly international at Windsor Park.’

    That’s from the BBC.

    I hope you are all happy now.

    A friendly isn’t the same as a qualifier. There is nothing at stake other than pride.

    That’s why a game against someone different would have made more sense.

  • slug

    The reason to hold this of bringing in money shouldn’t be ignored. The IFA have to cover their costs and the money is needed.

  • BillyO

    I see from the match reports that the good old reliable Windsor Park crowd immediately targetted Craig Bellamy and gave him a hard time.

    I wonder if it could be because he spent less than 4 months on loan at Celtic a couple of years ago?

    The last time Wales played NI, they went for John Hartson – a Celtic player at the time.

    What happened to this wonderful new non sectarian atmosphere at Windsor Park then?

  • kyle

    Not surprised that young Lafferty didn’t go to Celtic, he was concerned about the reception he might have received at Windsor should he have moved up North.

  • GavBelfast

    You know, I had to be reminded that Bellamy had played for Celtic for a short time in his career, I think it’s more likely he was getting a bit of stick because he has a bit of a ‘reputation’, on and especially off the field, and there are no shortage of Man Utd and other non-Liverpool liking fans in the NI faithful.

    But I’m indebted to the trolls for their version of events!

    Not a bad game, competitive enough and a few decent chances. Walres on points first half, NI unlucky not to score one or two in the second. Now to two good performances in March.

  • ivan

    For the life of me, i still can’t see how thousands of northern Ireland supporters shouting ‘no surrender’ during ‘god save the queen’ can be seen as representative.

  • Doctor Who

    And it went to post 16 for the trolls to show themselves, well done boys, keep dreaming it up.

  • BillyO

    GavBelfast

    If you want to blind yourself and believe that this had nothing to do with Bellamy being an ex-Celtic player, that’s your lookout. However, I would suggest that the treatment NI fans have given to Celtic players (particularly on their own team) in the recent past lends itself exclusively to my interpretation rather than yours.

    Kyle

    There is talk that Celtic may well come back in for Lafferty in the summer if Burnley drop their ludicrous asking price. It will be interesting to see if the “Norn Iron” fans are quite so welcoming to him if he goes to Celtic.

  • BillyO

    Dr Who

    I have read a number of reports about the match and they mentioned the selective booing of Craig Bellamy – I don’t think we dreamt that one up.

    Perhaps, you dreamt that it didn’t happen.

    As I have said on previous threads on this subject, I accept that the IFA are making efforts to improve things. What I won’t accept is the pretence put forward by people like you that there is NOT a sectarian element remaining in NI support. If the GAWA army are so wonderful – why don’t they act against the bigots in the crowd and expose them?

    The trouble with “trolls” like you is that you can accept no criticism of the NI support. I accept the the sectarianism is declining but there are still incidents like tonight. Instead of standing up and accepting there is still work to be done, you resort to pathetic transparent denials and attacking the people who point out the FACTS that don’t fit in with you view of things.

  • harpo

    ‘What happened to this wonderful new non sectarian atmosphere at Windsor Park then?’

    BillyO:

    I don’t suppose they were just having a go at the hothead on the other team were they?

    It’s a common tactic – try to wind up someone who can be wound up.

  • BP1078

    “Comment Three
    So how many posts will there be before this thread turns into the usual NI rant-fest?”

    Marty,
    Well, we got to comment sixteen, before the anti-NI trolls popped out from under the bridge.
    Not bad, considering.

    Hopefully, their rantings will be ignored this time and we can actually talk about football instead of their usual sectarian rantings.

  • BP1078

    run out against an Irish League team BP1078?! What use would that be??! With the withdrawals of Healy et al more ‘fringe’ players will be used tonight and will gain vital experience playing a half decent side for the two tough qualifiers next month (Liechtenstein away will not be a picnic).

    Geo
    Hope you enjoyed the game!!

    The Liechtenstein game will require specific tactics that will be different from when we played Spain, Denmark etc. I’m guessing they’ll play with a 7,8 man defence which can be an absolute bummer to break down even for the very best teams.

    A run out against an IL team would have been beneficial as a kind of training exercise, with the IL team given instructions to pack the defence. Different free-kick, corner etc moves could have been practised. Spain and Italy occasionally do similar games with lower league teams in their own countries

    Wales did not give the same kind of game that Liechtenstien will, that’s why I couldn’t really see the point of playing them.

  • Geo

    I did enjoy the game, thanks BP1078!

    Sorry but I still think that playing Wales was a useful exercise for both teams and we wouldn’t have been better served playing an Irish League 10-0-0 select. In the 2nd half especially some of our breaking out of defence was fantastic, Sproule & Lafferty had possibly their best games yet for NI and it was a shame we couldn’t have nicked that deserved goal.

    I hate responding to trolls but I booed Craig Bellamy last night for the simple reason he plays for the red scouse filth! His time at Celtic is news to me here (couldn’t care less for Scottish football) so as a dyed-in-the-wool Manchester United supporter I gave him the same as I gave Gerrard, Alonso, Dudek etc. Yes, very very sad I know and I should get out more, but I suspect I wasn’t the only Red in crowd who felt the same about the wee scouse so-and-so!

  • Ziznivy

    A few comments about the game refraining from repsonding to the usual rubbish we get on these threads.

    A poor enough first half where we gave Koumas far too much space. No real threat from Wales though. As a Liverpool supporter I really don’t think Bellamy makes direct enough runs in threatening positions. Hughes coped with his pace very well and the central pairing looked compact, confident and difficult to break down. Second half was much better with Davis beginning to function well.