Old Trap’s Italian defensive approach to game ran out of luck last night… Not least because the one man you would expect to have kept it tight at the back was twice opened wide by fairly ordinary attacks.
Can’t help thinking that some of the down reaction is a general underestimation of the Croatian team (who are ranked 8th in the world). Losing the first game is not the end of the affair, but conceding three goals may be too great a weight bear for a team that’s programmed to play defence more than attack.
Spain, as we know, are not unbeatable by an Irish team but with the exception of Kilbane and Robbie Keane who were relative youngsters in Saipan this Irish team has had little or no experience in such big tournaments.
That said, few fans on their way out of Poland really expected to have to extend their leave and their visas to take in the Ukraine so there’s another two matches left to pull some dignity out of the fire.
Three goals conceded in 14 games, but it all came unstuck when that first ball went into the back of the net… Though the route one desperation at the end brought in some half decent chances…
They’ll have to take the next two, gulp, Spain (ranked first in the world) and Italy (ranked 12), and try to nail them one by one… That may need something closer to a miracle than just common or garden luck..
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty