Wednesday 20 September 2017

Five things we learned from Ireland's comprehensive 3-1 victory over Uruguay

Robbie Brady of Republic of Ireland following their victory in the international friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Uruguay at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Robbie Brady of Republic of Ireland following their victory in the international friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Uruguay at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Colin Young

Ireland bounced back from the poor display by the second string in New Jersey to beat Uruguay 3-1 at the Aviva tonight. Here are five things to glean from the game.

1. Ireland can score goals.

The three goals from Jon Walters, Cyrus Christie and James McClean were the first time Ireland have scored more than two since the win in Moldova in October. Ireland have now managed 11 in the last 11 games.

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Jonathan Walters of Republic of Ireland celebrates with Cyrus Christie, left, after scoring his side's first goal of the game during the international friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Uruguay at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

2. Midfield's where it's at

The performance of Harry Arter has given Martin O'Neill food for thought ahead of the all-important qualifier against Austria on Sunday. The Ireland manager must decide whether to start with the Bournemouth playmaker or Wes Hoolahan, who came off the bench at half-time.

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Republic of Ireland's Harry Arter in action with Uruguay's Alejandro Silva

3. Is three the Magic Number?

For all the pre-match talk, an experiment with three at the back for Ireland failed to materialise and O'Neill will have been pleased with his defenders' handling of the visitors. Of more concern is the man behind the defence. Darren Randolph conceded a poor goal and half-time replacement Keiren Westwood looks in good shape.

4. Forget Mexico

The friendly in New Jersey was always going to be the less relevant game of this fortnight, and more about giving an opportunity to fringe players and youth. O'Neill has been more encouraged by the depth to his squad and less concerned by the result against a Mexican side who were always going to dominate the game.

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Jesus Corona of Mexico scores his side's first goal

5. Uruguay and Dublin miss Luis Suarez.

There must have been much slapping of foreheads when the former Liverpool striker withdrew from the South Americans' squad and he was sorely missed by a rudderless Uruguay side, who also lost another star in Edinson Cavani early on.

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Barcelona’s Luis Suarez

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