Thursday 25 December 2014

Pictures: Ireland player ratings

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SHAY GIVEN - 5/10

Tournament has been a traumatic experience for the netminder. Hard to believe that Ireland's finest 'keeper has proved to be a weak link, yet that's the depressing reality. Caught out badly on the first occasion he was called into action. This would be a terrible way to end his Irish career.

JOHN O'SHEA - 5/10

Defended well in the early resistance, stopping one Italian break with a well-timed interception. But the distribution failed to match the awareness, and he cut the momentum from some decent situations by needlessly punting the ball away. Won't be happy with role in second goal.

STEPHEN WARD - 6/10

The Wolves man must have suffered deja vu as another team lofted passes into his direction. Striker Antonio Cassano left his station to drift towards Ward's flank and while he did collect more than once, the Portmarnock lad closed down quickly on a night he will remember more fondly than the other two.

SEAN ST LEDGER - 6/10

A slippy start from St Ledger, who has resembled a man wearing runners on an ice rink with the amount of times he's lost his footing on the greasy surfaces. Could have been punished when arm blocked first-half Italian strike, and a few nervous moments at the start of the second half. Not his best night.

RICHARD DUNNE - 7/10

The challenge presented by Italy was a welcome contrast from the high pressing energy of the Spanish, and he returned to a familiar role of sweeper during periods of the first half. Powerless to stop opener and blocked well from Cassano after resumption. Comfortably his most assured outing of the week.

GLENN WHELAN - 5/10

After a purposeful opening, he dirtied his bib with the terrible misplaced pass that invited Italy to push forward and apply the pressure that eventually led to the opening goal. On a redemption mission thereafter, and dug in effectively as Ireland chased for an equaliser. But will rue his error.

AIDEN McGEADY - 5/10

Prominent in Ireland's chirpy start, yet while his energy was central to counter attacks, the Spartak man's choice of final ball was again poor, including one break where the ball simply ran away from him. His pained expression knew it. A 36pc pass completion rate makes for unpleasant reading.

KEITH ANDREWS - 6/10

Solid in the first two games, and combative as Ireland began the game with gusto. He will be disappointed that 5ft 9ins Cassano rose highest to steer home Pirlo's corner for the opener. More adventurous in second half with two shots on goal. Frustration boiled over in the end with needless red card.

KEVIN DOYLE - 8/10

Had a point to prove after seeing no action against the Spain, and he was a handful from the first whistle, providing a real outlet for those behind when they came under pressure. Switched to right wing in second half and caused issues there with tenacious attitude. Very unlucky to be withdrawn.

ROBBIE KEANE - 5/10

Put in a strong running shift in the first half, yet it was all perspiration without inspiration. A slip that brought an end to a quick counter just about summed up the skipper's tournament, and it was remarkable that he stayed on the pitch in the second half as other players were sacrificed by the manager.

DAMIEN DUFF - 7/10

A proud night for the Dubliner on the occasion of his 100th cap, and he delivered an early masterclass in winning a free-kick that was a theme of this game. Just a shame they came to nothing. Overall, he's made a better contribution than the other senior Irish players in this tournament.

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI - 5/10

What did we learn? What did he learn? Once again, proved he can organise a team to compete with Italy if they are compact and aggressive. But while Ireland gave Italy a difficult night, Trap was slow to give his next generation a chance. Substitutions seemed to revolve around avoiding a tough calls.

SUBSTITUTES


SHANE LONG - 6/10
Came on up front and then switched to the right side of midfield. Aggressive, without ever really wriggling into room in the final third

JON WALTERS - 6/10
Brought on to provide physical outlet and won free kick that almost led to equaliser. Will be fighting for start in September.

SIMON COX - 5/10
Late in the day when he was brought into the fold. No time to impact.

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