FAI to 'consider position' over World Cup failure
THE FAI have tonight issued a statement saying they will 'consider the current position' after Ireland's defeat in Vienna.
The statement, released late tonight, could signal the beginning of the end of the reign of manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
It said: "The recent results against Sweden and Austria were very disappointing for everyone involved in Irish football, the manager, the players and supporters."
"The FAI Board of Management will now consider the current position over the coming days."
Earlier tonight in Vienna David Alaba, who had scored the critical equaliser in injury-time at the Aviva, won the match for Austria in the 84th minute in Vienna.
On the eve of the game, Trapattoni had said that if he were John Delaney he would tell the Irish manager to keep going, an unusual tactic with the manager effectively giving himself the dreaded vote of confidence.
Sweden’s win in Kazakhstan before the game in Vienna ensured that victory was the only realistic way Ireland were going to remain in with a chance of finishing second.
They had an unbeaten record in away qualifiers under Trapattoni to give them confidence and the bright start was in keeping with reports from within the squad which said there was a mood of defiance.
The promising beginning was helped by James McCarthy looking authoritative in midfield and unrecognisable from the player who struggled against Sweden on Friday night.
Ireland seemed determined and went looking for a goal with Seamus Coleman also intent on playing his natural game and getting forward.
At times, there was flowing football and while that couldn’t last, Ireland did find openings, even if they struggle to create clear chances.
The difference was down to Shane Long who looked sharper than the Sweden game but still couldn’t reach the ball on a couple of key occasions, once when played in by Jonathan Walters and then when Robbie Keane drove the ball across the face of the goal.
Anthony Pilkington also shot into the side-netting but as Alaba began to take control of midfield, the Austrians began to create chances.
David Forde’s shakiness was also becoming apparent. His kicking was poor and he was lucky that one save from an Alaba shot trickled out for a corner.
Ireland had abandoned what they might consider the pretty stuff, instead trying to turn the Austrian defence, which did seem unhappy to be turned.
Ireland’s defence could look pretty miserable as well. John O’Shea was booked, putting him out of the game in Germany, and there was a scramble again when Alaba’s shot deflected off Richard Dunne into Martin Harnik’s path but Coleman and Forde combined to keep out the shot.
In the second half, Ireland began to shoot from distance with Walters, Long and Wilson all trying it before they changed tack and appealed for two penalties in the same attack as Walters went down and Fuchs might have handled as he blocked Pilkington’s cross.
Both sides needed the win but Austria with Alaba in control were marginally more certain how they could get it. Moments after the penalty appeal, Fuchs got forward and his cross found Andreas Weimann unmarked on the penalty spot but he shot straight at Forde.
Ireland were retreating like in Moscow and, as in Moscow, Irish players were throwing themselves in front of the ball with Coleman heading out a Julian Baumgartlinger shot and then blocking the follow up from Harnik. Unlike Moscow, Ireland needed a win.
Ireland relieved the pressure briefly before inviting on more. Fuchs’ cross wasn’t defended well and Marc Wilson’s clearance went only as far as Alaba. Everybody else on the pitch was capable of missing but Alaba was never going to and he drove the ball into the net and put Ireland out of their misery.
Dion Fanning in Vienna