Links to the latest:
AFTER SIX rounds of scintillating European Cup action, we’re back on the international stage. You’ll remember that our last date with Wales didn’t go quite to plan.
We got well and truly, and fairly and squarely, beaten four months ago in the Rugby World Cup. It’s best not to think about it.
OLÉ, OLÉ, OLÉ…You know the rest. The countdown can well and truly begin now as we have learned our Euro 2012 opponents – and what a group we have.
It’s Ireland v Croatia, Spain and Italy in Group C.
ESTONIA were beaten four times in the group (including defeat to the Faroe Islands).
Links to all of Estonia’s group games. What do you think?
7 October 2011 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
6 September 2011 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Estonia 4-1 Northern Ireland
2 September 2011 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Slovenia 1-2 Estonia
7 June 2011 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Faroe Islands 2-0 Estonia
3 June 2011 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Italy 3-0 Estonia
29 March 2011 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Estonia 1-1 Serbia
12 October 2010 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Estonia 0-1 Slovenia
8 October 2010 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Serbia 1-3 Estonia
3 September 2010 – UEFA EURO, Qualifying round (Group C)
Estonia 1-2 Italy
11 August 2010 Qualifying round (Group C)
Estonia 2-1 Faroe Islands
PREDICTING that the All Blacks would make the Rugby World Cup final was like hearing the theme tune to Murder, She Wrote and forecasting that somebody is about to feel a whole lot worse in a few minutes. France, on the other hand, are a different kettle of fish, somewhere closer to the Twilight Zone.
But somewhere in the back of all New Zealand minds is the fact that, when it has mattered in previous World Cups, the French have had an Indian sign over the All Blacks.
LET’S GET this straight: We don’t pay Trap to entertain us, he is paid to get us to the Euro 2012 finals. His mantra is, if you want a show, go to the theatre. The Aviva certainly hasn’t provided much by the way of entertainment since it opened but that will all be forgotten with a point tonight and a positive outcome from the play-off.
But as the Italian has decided to forgo all notions of crowd-pleasing through attacking football then it becomes a duty to qualify. If not, the Emperor will be shown to have no clothes.
Just like Wales saw Ireland coming in the RWC quarter-final on Saturday, Trap will surely have studied the recent Armenian surge and have worked out a plan to nullify their threat. They have all the momentum and Ireland are without the top scorer and has been replaced by someone who has 24 minutes of Premier League football this season under his belt, Simon Cox.
The question is can Trap react quickly enough to an away goal? It took him 10 minutes after Russia scored their third to use his bench in the 3-2 defeat last October.
He stuck on Stephen Hunt with less than 10 minutes to play against Slovakia last month, even though Aiden McGeady (not fit) was having a stinker. It wasn’t enough time for the Wolves man to get into the game.
He’ll have to get it right tonight – when it’s clear that plan A is not working, plan B must come into play straight away and not ten or twenty minutes later.
Prediction: Ireland 1-2 Armenia
KERRY WERE leading by five as the clock ticked into overtime. They won a free- in just to the left of the goal about 30 yards about. Cooper and his team-mates, like any self-respecting junior Cs would do, immediately vacated the vicinity of the football.
The Mayo crowd, feeling that there was a little bit of gamesmanship going on here, began to boo. Eventually Cooper traipsed over, adjusted a sock or a bootlace before picking up the ball. The woman behind me said, “Well, he must be the most ignorant person to ever set foot in Croke Park!” Then Cooper did what Cooper does, and it has nothing to do with making or repairing barrels.