Three things we learned...
Published 11/08/2011 | 05:00
Once again, Darron Gibson failed to give a convincing display alongside Glenn Whelan, who looked in good shape ahead of the new season. Derry native Gibson, still at Manchester United, performed well early on but failed to take any sort of controlling influence on an evening that largely passed him by.
Ireland are hard to break down
Nine different players have started in Ireland's back four in the last five games, but the result has been the same: nil. It is now 501 minutes of play since Uruguay's Abel Hernandez beat Keiren Westwood and despite the fact that only one of the games was competitive -- against Macedonia -- it's impressive form to take into September.
Shane Long earned some trust
THE players talk a lot about gaining manager Giovanni Trapattoni's trust and with skipper Robbie Keane dropping deep last night, Shane Long led the line well on a lonely night up front. The West Brom new boy's physical presence unsettled the Croatia defence throughout and, while Long's decision-making let him down at times, he might have done enough to replace Wolves striker Kevin Doyle if he doesn't make next month's games.