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Game of patience is the key for O'Dea

Darren O'Dea is never less than a straight talker and his view of the job at hand in Andorra la Vella cuts nicely through the clichés and standard comments that Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli have been spinning all week.

In short order, he ripped through various reasons offered why Ireland might not win in Andorra and put the onus directly on his fellow players to deliver.

"The pitch might not be great but you can have all the excuses under the sun. We've just got to win the game," said O'Dea who has plenty of experience of cabbage patch surfaces from his days in Scotland.

"Some of them are the same alright but look, there's the expectation that we will qualify and we're expected to win those games. That expectation is within the squad too.

"When you know that you are that close, you have to be at your best and set things up nicely for Tuesday night. Everyone knows that not getting three points would be bad."


O'Dea has played a significant part in the accumulation of seven consecutive clean sheets and with the certainty that set-pieces will play a big role in events tomorrow night, he might have a role to play at the other end.

"As long as we keep them at bay, our job is done. We can't win the game as defenders," he said. "An early goal is what you want -- if it doesn't come we can't panic. Stay patient, score early and stay in the game as long as possible.

"We can't get nervous if we're not three or four up. It doesn't work like that."

O'Dea is anxious that everyone moves on from the heroic defence which delivered a point in Moscow and sees that game as just one in a series which has created the current qualification possibilities.

"A lot of the emphasis goes on the Moscow game but it's been a long campaign and there have been many other victories and important points. Even the Slovakia game at the Aviva. You look at that now and it doesn't look too bad.

"This game is the important one and I don't think there is any worry about it among the players other than what is riding on the match."