Friday, January 27, 2006


Ireland get Wales in Euro 2008 Draw

Hopefully Ireland will be thereI've just watched the draw for Euro 2008 live on Sky Sports News.

It was the usual stuff with men in suits talking waffle and clips being shown but they eventually got down to business and it proved an exciting draw.

(It was also funny how one official struggled to open the little plastic balls that were used for the draw!)

I think Ireland have found themselves in a good group by being drawn in Group D. It could have been alot worse anyway.

Group D reads as follows:

Czech Republic
San Marino

First thoughts that spring to mind? Why the hell are we ranked below Slovakia? I know they have improved in recent times but come on! Ireland play Wales for the first time competitively which will be good, we have a history with the Czech team and hey we're going to Germany after all...just a little later than the World Cup teams in 2006.

As for the 'Northern Ireland' team, which for some reason was depicted with an 'Ulster flag' when NI doesn't have a flag, they are in Group G with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Denmark, Spain, Sweden. Presumably their goal is to finish above the mighty Liechtenstein!

As for our neighbours in Britain, England have got a good group in Group E with Macedonia, Andorra, Estonia, Israel, Russia, Croatia. I would fancy them to top that group. Why was Sven there though when he will be leaving in the summer? He must have felt awkward. Poor old Scotland eh?! Not only are they in the 'Group of Death' but they're in the Group of Hell in my opinion. They are in Group B with France, Italy, Ukraine, Lithuania, Georgia and the Faroe Islands. Ouch.

It was a good draw from an Irish perspective in my view and I think Irish fans will be pleased. At least we're not in Scotland's group! Here are my thoughts on Ireland's opponents:

Czech Rep - We had a memorable victory over the Czechs a few years ago at Lansdowne Road in the qualifying camapign for Euro 2000 I think. They are a good team and will be at the World Cup this year but I think there are more dangerous teams out there and I fancy our chances against them.

Germany - Our last encounter with the Germans was the memorable game in the 2002 World Cup when Robbie Keane scored that dramatic late equaliser. I think the Germans are vastly overrated and I fancy us to beat them in Dublin.

Wales - This should be a good encounter. We've never met competitively before but that will soon change. I think we can take these guys. They struggled against the North's team and they will struggle against us. There's a red dragon about to be slain by some Irish warriors...

Cyprus - Why do we always get this team? We've had them in the last two World Cup campaigns and we have them yet again. They have threatened to embarrass us in the past but have failed to do so and I imagine they will fail again. We should handle them.

San Marino - Should be a good trip for Irish fans to get to travel to a sunny place as Damien Duff torments these guys.

Overall, we should be pleased. I'm glad in a way that we have got Wales as we tend to struggle against the supposedly weaker teams but the two games against Wales will surely inspire us. As for the supposed big boys of the group, Irish teams tend to do well when we are depicted as the underdog so I think we can take points off the Czechs and the Germans in Dublin.

I fancy our chances of qualification for Euro 2008 if Staunton and Robson can successfully rebuild the Irish team. We have one or two world class players and some decent youngsters coming through and if we have a good team spirit, we should be a force to be reckoned with.

Come on you boys in green!


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