Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Beat Slovakia or we're going to sack ya!

The title says it all. Wednesday's match against Slovakia is a must-win game for Steve Staunton and the Irish team.

Staunton has been at the helm of some of the most atrocious displays in recent Irish football history including a 1-0 home defeat to Chile, a 4-0 home drubbing at the hands of Holland, a 5-2 stuffing away to Cyprus, an embarrassingly lucky 2-1 victory over minnows San Marino and a woefully dour 1-0 victory over Wales this past Saturday.

And the English think they have it bad.

Staunton has today named his side for the game tomorrow and there were no nasty surprises as was the case over the weekend. Kevin Doyle comes in for the suspended Robbie Keane and Aidan McGeady replaces Jonathan Douglas in midfield. Shay Given meanwhile is set to equal Packie Bonner's record of caps won by a goalkeeper when he plays in his 80th game. Right now I reckon he's the only world class player we have.

I correctly predicted three out of four results last Saturday (can't remember which one it was I got wrong) and I'm aiming now to better that by correctly predicting all five of Wednesday's matches involving teams from these islands. Here's how I see things going...

Ireland 2 Slovakia 1

I've a very bad feeling about this game. Seeing as right now we're managed by a buffoon, this has banana skin written all over it. On the plus side, we are home and it looks like he has named a reasonable team this time. I think there will be a few scares but I fancy us to just about edge it, thus prolonging Staunton's stay (oh joy!). What I'm hoping for, besides the result of course, is a good performance as the last couple of games have been bloody awful to watch.

Andorra 0 England 4

England haven't been doing well lately but this should placate their fans for the time being. Andorra are not a good side and I expect England to win very easily.

Italy 2 Scotland 0

I hope Scotland can get a result over there but I don't like their chances being away from home. The world champions traditionally are solid at the back and with Luca Toni up front they will be very dangerous. I see this being 2-0 but I hope I'm wrong.

Wales 3 San Marino 0

The Welsh were pretty dismal in Dublin on Saturday. They will be eager to bounce back from that and San Marino are the ideal team to play. This should be a comfortable win for them.

England Ju...uh I mean Northern Ireland 1 Sweden 3

This is where reality comes crashing down on the 'wee' NI fans. Ireland hammered Sweden 3-0 in Staunton's first game in charge but the Swedes won't suffer a similar fate against Lawrie Sanchez's side. One has to laugh at this talk of the 'world class' David Healy. This is a guy who has been on the bench for much of Leeds United's season in the Championship, a season that currently sees them bottom of the table! Yeah what a world class player he is! The Swedes should comfortably see off NI. I can see them grabbing a consolation though.

Feel free to give your thoughts on how you see the matches going tomorrow or make some predictions on the results if you fancy.


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