The Republic of Ireland’s football team face host nation France tomorrow in their biggest game since they took on Spain in the last 16 of the World Cup 14 years ago.
On Wednesday evening the country erupted in unbridled elation as Robbie Brady ghosted past the Italian backline to nod Wes Hoolahan’s cross into the net, every player on the night a hero. Everyone in Ireland was happy as they had all backed Ireland, handy place to find information is the official chart rank and guide of online betting sites
The team selection left many, including this writer, scratching their heads. Credit must go to manager Martin O’Neill for his brave team selection. He dropped his on-pitch captain John O’Shea and midfield stalwart Glenn Whelan. Two big calls. Athleticism and power favoured over experience.
Shane Duffy came in for O’Shea and was magnificent in what was his first competitive game for the boys in green. Instead of Whelan the much maligned James McCarthy was moved back into his preferred holding role. Many thought McCarthy would be dropped, his bottle had gone after his poor performance in the Belgium game. The Everton midfielder showed great character to put in perhaps his best performance in an Irish shirt. It can sometimes be real money casinos – play online slots to win real cash, it can work on well and no so well at times
Have we seen a sea change for the better in the spine of the team during a major tournament? On the evidence of Wednesday evening you would be inclined to hope so.
Will the same line up be sent out with the same shoulder to the grindstone attitude tomorrow? Dominating a second string Italian side is a far cry from doing it to a French side with some of the best young players in the world, but it would be great to see even a fraction of what they showed in Lille. Players like Brady, McCarthy and in particular Jeff Hendrick showed what they can do as a combined force for Ireland in the coming years.
With McCarthy sitting, the game in front of him, playing to his strengths Brady and Hendrick are capable of playing on the half turn. They showed a willingness to transition the ball from defence to attack with a frequency we haven’t seen for some time. They were all composed in possession and seemed to feed off one another, growing more in confidence as the game wore on.
If we can somehow give this new triumvirate a platform on which to flourish and throw Hoolahan into the mix we can give the French something to think about tomorrow.