beaten by the french

Last night, Ireland lost 1-0 to France in Croke Park in the first leg of our world cup play off clash. Chelsea man Nicolas Anelka did the damage with about 20 minutes to go. The gulf in class was obvious and like i feared, enough of their big players performed on the night to grind out the result they needed.

Ireland were a little bit predictable and out of their depth, but it’s hard to be critical of them when there wasn’t much more they were capable of doing. Trappatoni was never going to attack and that was the sensible approach at home. If both sides were to play offensively in an open game, Ireland would get hammered. Simple as that. The French are just too classy and pacey in the final third for our back 4 to cope with.

We need the back 4 protetced by our midfield which then alienates our 2 front men. So naturally, we play long balls up to them but neither Robbie Keane nor Kevin Doyle can hold on to a ball the way a Didier Drogba can (first player that springs to mind). Flick ons and attempts at clever killer balls never work and our cutting edge in the final third is non existant, unless it comes from the odd roaming midfielder picking up a lose ball.

But the tactics will have to change if we’re to beat France in Paris. We must attack and we must hope France have an off night. The chances of both of those two things happening are very slim.

On a more positive note, the atmosphere in Croke Park was by far and away the best yet since the move a couple of year ago. The irish examiner provided clap banners which were used to create a sea of green at the start of the match, but also used to create a lot of noise which added to the atmosphere…

Croke Park Hotel

Croke Park

French Fans

Line ups

Irish Huddle

Croke Park

rte soccer panel

The above pictures were shot with my new TZ7 so it was a perfect opportunity to test it out. Overall, the quality of pictures is a lot better than my old camera and the zoom is great as you can see from the last 2 shots above of the RTE panel in the studio / cabin. The studio is located underneath the big screen and almost unnoticebale in that second last picture. But at full zoom, i ended up with that last shot :mrgreen:

I also took some HD video which i was very impressed with. I only took about 4 or 5 clips for a total of maybe 60 seconds just to test it out. I’ll try and get one or two uploaded tomorrow. You can expect plenty of pictures & video from Paris – last night i was just warming up my TZ7 🙂

I’ve a full day of college tomorrow and then i’m off to Paris for 3 days for the second leg of this tie. It’ll be a nice break away even if we don’t manage to pull off the miricle we need on the pitch. I’ll be back home early on Friday morning and then i’ll be heading in to college so i’ll be wrecked, but it has to be done.

I also don’t think i’ll be scheduling any posts to appear here when i’m away – i’m just too busy to be that prepared. I’ll be blogging tomorrow and then that’ll probably be it until Friday.

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