It's Ireland's Call

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Nani Nana, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. Nov 11, 2009
    #1

    Nani Nana Full Member

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    [​IMG]

    In the wake of France’s 1-1 draw against Serbia on September 9th in Belgrade, a result that unerringly condemned les Bleus to a risky playoff spot, a surprisingly chuffed Raymond Domenech answered journalists questions on the pitch, moments after the final whistle. Taking little heed of the prospect of having to go through a two legged tie which should never have been a consideration for a talented French side, he hailed the 200 friends that sent him an SMS in the days before the game and also his wife for her support, innocently grinning at the camera in front of him, as if to convey his outward satisfaction to the millions of deflated French fans behind the TV. It took him a month to realize the high level of uncertainty that surrounds France’s duty, especially since France drew Ireland, perhaps the most feared of possible opponents on this side of the Channel. Domenech spent no time praising his wife after the draw, hastily escaping the journalists surrounding him at a Lyon training camp and refusing to give his assessment of the Irish side. Later in the afternoon, he finally answered the questions of RTL, a decent radio station for stay-at-home moms whom happen to have an exclusive contract with the French football federation. He heralded that Ireland was as difficult a draw as possible, and that France will face nothing less than an "England 2" side in November, citing the players established in the Premier League. Funnily enough, his statement meant to big up the Irish was translated as exactly the opposite in most Dublin newspapers the next day, Ireland as an "England reserve team", which provoked an outcry that Domenech never wished for, as Ireland now has an extra-motivation coming into the game. Hence, if even Domenech’s communication tactics can be outdone, the Irish underdogs shall certainly believe in their chances next week. Other clinchers can elicit optimism among the Irish troops, notably :

    Giovani Trapattoni’s experience

    Here’s one selector who is also renowned for his peculiar communication skills and long-winded press conferences, albeit in an entirely different register to Domenech's stonewalling.



    Yet the biggest difference between the Milan-born selector and his French counter-part - who only managed France U21 and a second-league Olympique Lyonnais in the early 1990s -, is the former has coached the likes of Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus, and is the only Italian ever to have led Bayern Munich, landing two Scudettos, two Champions Leagues and one German silverware in the process. His experience as a manager is peerless; Domenech still has not won a trophy. This trashy prize list contributes to the French selector failing to impart confidence to his squad, as underscored by Thierry Henry’s private conversation with him at the Clairefontaine training camp two days before the decisive Romania game in early September,where he revealed his team-mates' confusion at "wayward" training sessions in which everything was "conducted randomly" by the French selector. Although this statement was quickly disclaimed, it obviously contained a certain amount of truth as testified the next day by Florent Malouda, left startled not to find his jersey in the locker-room minutes before the kick-off against Romania, having seemingly been told earlier he was picked in the starting 11.

    The impact of Domenech's questionable coaching cannot be undermined; in hindsight, it even proved a decisive factor for France during the qualification groups campaign, as it turned out to be the best selector in the group 7 whose team topped the table by the end. Serbia’s Radomir Antić was indeed by all accounts the most experienced selector among all contenders, having coached the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and his rallying abilities single-handedly enabled Serbia to edge it in a group where Domenech’s France and Romania (led by the inexperienced Victor Piturça and Razvan Luçescu) were seen as favourites. We ought to wish Trapattoni, unlucky thus far at International level with the Italian outfit, that this tendency keeps up and the best manager gets the upper hand next week.

    One of the best defensive midfielders in the world in his prime (Pelé himself admitted seldom having been under such tight a grip as when facing Trapattoni), his defensive awareness is what made his name as a manager and what could prove vital against the French, who struggled most in the group stages against teams who set no tempo to the game and sat deep, notably low-key Lithuania and the Feroe Islands, both narrowly defeated away by a one goal leeway.

    Robbie Keane’s confidence

    The Irish captain is in sparkling form with the national team and Tottenham alike, having scored 5 in both the WC group stages and the Premier League. He is one of the five players (alongside Given, O’Shea, Dunne and Kilbane) who have already faced the French fighting for a World Cup spot back in September 2005 at Lansdowne Road, only to be narrowly defeated by a Thierry Henry second-half curler. Nonetheless, this backbone will be of useful help for the younger team-mates coming in for what will presumably be a tight game, while France on the other hand will only have Grandpas Henry and Gallas to recall the fiery atmosphere emanating from the Irish crowd.

    Franck Ribéry’s knee

    The French wizard yielded France six vital points in the double encounter with Lithuania in April and has been key to France's performances in the past two years. His absence automatically means one of Thierry Henry or Florent Malouda will occupy the left flank, the former being rather average at it with the French team, the latter well known to John O’Shea, the United full-back who will take charge of either of them. Most of France’s capacity to surprise its opponent vanishes with Ribéry, only to let the usual suspects try and quarrel with Ireland’s back four that conceded one less than the French during the group stages (8 goals to 9). The likes of Karim Benzema and André-Pierre Gignac being currently slightly out of form, France’s best weapon will certainly be Yoann Gourcuff, the Bordeaux attacking midfielder who will have to deal with a big amount of responsibilities on his still fragile shoulders. Ribéry's absence is coupled with Patrick Vieira failing to be called up by Domenech after a magnificent display with Inter Milan against AS Roma upon returning from injury. This has caused an outcry in France and rightly so, as the only other defensive midfielder capable of crossing the halfway line while still getting hold of the ball, the Gunner Abou Diaby, is out injured.

    5 + 5 = 10

    The number of goals conceded by Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda in the epic Lyon-Marseille game last Sunday. According to Domenech, no hierarchy is settled between both goalkeepers as to who will start at Croke Park; they did little to establish one on Sunday, imitating each other's mistakes and making them more and more silly as the game wore on. One should point out at how seldom there had been such an uncertainty in the French outfit as to who will finally step in the shoes of Number 1 goalkeepers following the path of glorious Fabien Barthez and Bernard Lama. Shay Given, on the contrary, need not feeling too anxious about it.

    Stade de France’s ignorance

    [​IMG]

    The second leg takes place on French soil, but hardly in what we’d call a welcoming stadium for the French squad. The Stade de France is indeed renowned for its whimsy attendance that jeers its own players whenever they concede a goal, or at half-time if no goal was scored against weaker opposition. The stadium is commonly referred to as the « Footix haven », referencing to the 1998 World Cup mascot, the competition for which the stadium was built in the mid-1990s and during which most of its eventual attendance first met up with football.

    The crowd's reputation is well deserved; in France’s last outing against Austria, the Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was enjoying a decent evening when the crowd started shouting « Mandanda, Mandanda ! » for a good two minutes, asking for the reserve goalkeeper to come off the bench after Lloris was deemed responsible for Austria's goal. Akin events are dime a dozen in the Saint-Denis stadium, foremost whipping boys including Karim Benzema and Nicolas Anelka for their unbearable laziness. Such a behaviour from the crowd evidently elicits negative feelings among the French squad, players admitting to feel like playing away fixtures at the Stade de France. Hence, attempting to cool down the relationship between players and fans, Noel le Graet (vice-chairman of the French football federation) relocated the Feroe Islands home game in October to the pint-sized 18,000 seats Roudourou Stadium, home to the low-key Ligue 2 side FC Guingamp, where France dismantled a fairly weak opponent amid a jovial Breton atmosphere. The next day, overzealous newspapers were begging for the impending play-offs to take place at the Roudourou, which would loosely equal to the Irish team playing at Newbridge Town's Station Road.

    As eventually the Stade de France got the upper hand, Domenech recalled how in 2004, when Ireland last visited Paris, more than 30,000 Irish fans stood in the stands. The French selector was visibly anxious at a similar scenario unfolding, and issued a statement on RTL saying « it would be useless to play in front of an Irish crowd like the other time, so please French fans, go and buy tickets to prevent the Irish to sweep them all. That would be a first victory. The Britons (sic) are good at reacting quickly, I’m sure they are even already booking tickets on the internet ». Too humble, the French selector didn't mention he is also quite efficient at anticipating, as underlined by his trip to South Africa last March, resulting in the booking of a luxury hotel his team may never disclose.

    M6’s ill luck

    The folkloric French television channel M6, renowned for its song contests and soap operas, isn’t quite used to broadcasting football games, which didn‘t prevent it from being inexplicably picked to cover the Croke Park game. That represents a good sign for Ireland as the French have never won a game with M6 at the helm. The last time it broadcast the French national team was in the 2008 European Championships, when a nightmare of a game against Italy eliminated les Bleus from a competition they entered as firm favourites. The loss prompted Raymond Domenech to try and convince everyone that the team performed quite well, before proposing his then fiancée for marriage, minutes after the final whistle following a truly disastrous performance. It was perhaps one of the most staggering on-pitch interviews of all time, conducted in front of flabbergast commentators that include Chelsea legend Franck Leboeuf, whose golden analysis of the game, coupled with potential comedy moments from Domenech during the post-match interview, might at least alleviate the French fans’ sorrow in case of a potential upset.


    The bottom line is Ireland can believe in its chances to upset France in next week's play-offs, as Domenech's side lacks the stability and confidence implemented by Trapattoni in a united, solid, eerie Irish side. Here's to Trapattoni !

  2. Nov 11, 2009
    #2

    Decotron Full Member

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    Theres already 2 threads covering the match Nani Nani

    I applaud your efforts though.
  3. Nov 11, 2009
    #3

    kouroux Full Member

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    Gignac slightly out of form, I would say he's getting it together in the last few matches and besides his form for France is completely different.About Viera not getting called up, Domenech did the right thing, it hasn't caused an outcry here but more like in Italy
  4. Nov 11, 2009
    #4

    vuc First Team Serb

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    Read something in the Metro this morning about Domenech and his players going to a tennis game. Apparently the crowd were booing him when his face showed up on the big screen, Domenech responded with a wave to the crowd. Henry and co. were laughing by all accounts. Seems like there is more of a bond now between the players and coach, is this true Kouroux?
  5. Nov 11, 2009
    #5

    kouroux Full Member

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    I don't know,I'm hearing it from you first time but it wouldn't surprise as the players (more than ever) are supportive of the coach and are ready to fight for him (best example being Henry).
  6. Nov 11, 2009
    #6

    narnar Needs Help

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    yes, seen it on the BBC yesterday morning.
  7. Nov 11, 2009
    #7

    vuc First Team Serb

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    Metro = slow news..

    Narnar, what do you think will be the result between N. Ireland and Serbia on Saturday? We will be playing this one without a couple of key players, nonetheless we should still put out a good enough team.
  8. Nov 11, 2009
    #8

    Nani Nana Full Member

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    yeah but there are none in the blog...

    I forgot to thank Brad for helping throughout. Cheers Brad.
  9. Nov 11, 2009
    #9

    narnar Needs Help

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    who's pulled out? i can't be certain as i have absolutely no idea about serbia, are they any good?
  10. Nov 11, 2009
    #10

    narnar Needs Help

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    good post Nani Nana (and Brad), enjoyed reading that.
  11. Nov 11, 2009
    #11

    B Cantona Desperate

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    And yet none cover the match in such detail, or whet the appetite in the same way. And of course this is a blog article which automatically generates a new thread

    Domenech comes across as a complete tool. But he must have something about himself to still be employed as national team coach! Seemingly nothing that has anything to do with football though. The French are in a downward spiral, and I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if Ireland won this tie. They held a better Italian side to home and away draws, I think the key is getting a lead to take out to France
  12. Nov 11, 2009
    #12

    vuc First Team Serb

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    Many believe that France are starting to play a lot better now and looking far more a 'team' than previously. It should be a great match.
  13. Nov 11, 2009
    #13

    vuc First Team Serb

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    Stankovic, Dragutionvic and Pantelic.

    Stankovic and to some degree Pantelic are starters. Its also possible that Vidic will be a sub, although he needs to be playing games at the moment so I doubt that.

    As for how good we are, we qualified ahead of France in the group stages and have been one of the best form teams this last 1/2 years.
  14. Nov 11, 2009
    #14

    Laphroaig Full Member

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    Most importantly: when are the games?
  15. Nov 11, 2009
    #15

    kouroux Full Member

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    It's the truth, it has got a lot to do with the coach having a more constant first 11 ( in some way Ribery's injury is beneficial)
  16. Nov 11, 2009
    #16

    Decotron Full Member

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    Ah I see. Didnt kop that.

    Im of the opinion that keeping the French scoreless in Croke Park is key. If Ireland can go to Paris with the score at 0-0, Frustrate them for 20mins in the away leg and the French fans will do the usual turn their back on them. We should have beaten them the last time, JOS had a great chance to win it for us.

    Im still extremely pissed of with Trap and his double standards with Andy Reid. To call up Liam Miller is a shocking decision.

    Whatever happens the atmosphere on Sat. is going to be fecking immense. Promises to a great occasion and we are due a bit of luck in a play off.
    Ive my ticket already and now probably the option of getting a few pints in at half time by blagging into a box 2 of the lads will be in. Cant wait :devil:
  17. Nov 11, 2009
    #17

    B Cantona Desperate

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    He's out of the squad injured anyway

    And less use of 'kop' :nono:
  18. Nov 11, 2009
    #18

    cold-zebra Clare Baldings Daughter

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    Croke Park is this Saturday and the return leg is the Wednesday.
  19. Nov 12, 2009
    #19

    Decotron Full Member

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    Republic fans face TV black-out

    Irish football fans are facing a television black-out amid a row over the rights for the Republic of Ireland's World Cup showdown with France.

    Broadcasters RTE and Sky Sports remain in discussions with the French Football Federation and their TV partners TF1 over the second leg in Paris next Wednesday evening.

    But they have as yet been unable to strike a deal, and if that remains the case, Giovanni Trapattoni's men could walk out at the Stade de France with millions at home in the dark as they attempt to secure their passage to South Africa next summer.

    Reports in Ireland have suggested that the FFF is asking for 1.5million euros for the rights after the Football Association of Ireland handed the home leg to the highest bidder, independent channel M6, for around 4.5million euros.
  20. Nov 12, 2009
    #20

    kouroux Full Member

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    That's not entirely true as M6 landed the match when the other channel TF1 wasn't really focused (internal beef) and took its chance to put a bid which was accepted by the Ireland FA, they paid less money on it than TF1 usually does for matches played abroad
  21. Nov 12, 2009
    #21

    narnar Needs Help

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    ah sorry I didn't realise you were Serbian, I thought you were from NI.

    Is Serbia's present defence the same as the defence used for the 2006 qualifying, when it was Serbia & Montenegro? Iremember they were excellent.

    Windsor Park is where NI usually play better and we usually do relish the underdog status, which we'll probably have.

    Our top goalscorer, Healy hasn't played well for a while now, but Kyle Lafferty scored a good goal against Poland recently and if playing should provide a threat.

    Enjoy the match anyways, I'll more than likely be working and not get to see it.
  22. Nov 12, 2009
    #22

    Wonder Pigeon 'Shelbourne FC Supporter'

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    I doubt that the Roudourou Stadium's pitch is as bad as the one at Station Road.
  23. Nov 12, 2009
    #23

    dRNk SAnTA Banned

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    Great post nani nana!

    Brian Kerr with a good article in the IT today:

  24. Nov 12, 2009
    #24

    Red Hand Devil Plan M ish

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    No probably about it dude - you's arent even in the same league as those Serbian lads!

    Best of luck tho, i'm sure you'll give them a game at Windsor. Cant see the Serbians being too interested in breaking much sweat tbh - they pretty good so they may not have to!
  25. Nov 12, 2009
    #25

    Red Hand Devil Plan M ish

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    Pink for pansy!

    Cant believe that either, but this Andy Reid debate needs to be put to bed til after the play-offs. If we get through then Trap will be the genius, if not then the Irish world is gonna get on his back - especially Dunphy, the RTE & Dublin Media Mafia!

    Personally, its the managers decision who he picks for the squad & who he plays in the team. He's gotten us this far & compared to the mess that Stevie "pass the ball" Staunton left the football Country in - Trappatoni, Tardelli & Liam Brady have performed a minor miracle in the turnaround & the best part of all is that National & International respect for the Boys in Green has been restored!

    We might not be pretty but quite steadily we're close to feeling confident again of singing this sadly forgotten song:

    "You'll Never Beat The Irish"


    (40 seconds in.....)
  26. Nov 12, 2009
    #26

    vuc First Team Serb

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    :lol: Living under a rock on this forum?

    Vidic won't play in this game btw.

    Its going to be on Skysports which means we should get some good coverage.
  27. Nov 12, 2009
    #27

    Red Hand Devil Plan M ish

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    :lol: I pished myself when I read that he didnt know you were Serbian but the part about you being from Norn Iron = :lol::confused::lol::confused::lol:

    Sorry NarNar, but thats some funny shit mucker as Vuc has been quite vocal in his Serbianess & Eastern European roots - all day everyday aswell - the fecker never shuts up about it. He's nearly as bad as us Irish lads on here ;):D;)
  28. Nov 12, 2009
    #28

    cold-zebra Clare Baldings Daughter

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    So what's this saying? That it won't be on RTÉ but will be on Sky or it won't be on either?
  29. Nov 12, 2009
    #29

    Decotron Full Member

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    I think RTE and sky will both show it on sat. and had hoped to do the same on Wed. Im awaiting a reply from a lad thats usually "in the know" on all matters FAI.
  30. Nov 12, 2009
    #30

    Red Hand Devil Plan M ish

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    Him?

    [​IMG]

    Oh & I came across this aswell - its old but still relevant:

    [​IMG]
  31. Nov 12, 2009
    #31

    Dan Aka Lumines

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  32. Nov 12, 2009
    #32

    vuc First Team Serb

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    :lol:

    Bit harsh mate, all day, every day? I think that because we are a minority on here and I am vocal in my views I will always be labelled like that, but I barely ever bang on about being a Serb, only in reference to our players/teams/fans..

    No one questions the other nationalities on the board but I always get it.. Double Standards.
  33. Nov 12, 2009
    #33

    Nani Nana Full Member

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  34. Nov 13, 2009
    #34

    Nani Nana Full Member

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    The French team on Saturday according to L'Equipe :


    --------------------Lloris
    Sagna---------Gallas-----Abidal-----Evra
    ------------ - A. Diarra, L. Diarra
    --Anelka-----------Gourcuff---------Henry
    --------------------Gignac

    Jérémy Toulalan could be out for the first time in a year, giving Alou Diarra a chance to make the defensive midfield a bit more attacking.

    Anelka could be displayed on the right and Henry on the left, France's two best forwards on the wings, however I feel Anelka is wasted there and merely makes up for the absence of traditional right wingers in France at the moment; Henry is pretty ineffective on the left wing with the French outfit.

    Gourcuff is ought to be the key player in this line-up.
  35. Nov 13, 2009
    #35

    Doevle Full Member

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    Where's Ribery? Injured?
  36. Nov 13, 2009
    #36

    Decotron Full Member

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    Liking the look of Abidal at centre half, I dont rate him defensive. Full backs are very strong though. I also rate Toulalan and think he'll be a loss.

    Not alot of natural leadership in that team which could be crucial if Ireland rattle them early on.............
  37. Nov 13, 2009
    #37

    kouroux Full Member

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    Henry and Anelka do not play like wingers though, Henry it makes a bit sense since it's his position for Barca and for Anelka I would have preferred to start someone like Govou on the right and give him the striker role.
    Other than that it looks really good
  38. Nov 13, 2009
    #38

    Red Hand Devil Plan M ish

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    Jesus man, I was only joking - sorry. Did you not see the ;):D;)

    Of course you dont keep goin on about being a Serb. Humble apologies big son :cool:

    Good luck in Belfast too :devil:
  39. Nov 13, 2009
    #39

    Viper KGB Full Member

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    Anelka will rape Zinedine Skillbane, he'd still be quicker than him running backwards with Henry on his shoulders
  40. Nov 13, 2009
    #40

    Viper KGB Full Member

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    Kouroux whata's your opinion on the French team for tomorrow and how do you think the match will go?

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