Sunday 17 December 2017

Austria v Ireland diary

Pilkington finds life tough at the deep end

Anthony Pilkington finally made an appearance in a green jersey
Anthony Pilkington finally made an appearance in a green jersey
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Anthony Pilkington finally made his appearance in a green shirt on Friday night, but was unable to have the desired impact on his international debut.

His presence stirred something in an in-form namesake who has been in international exile for quite some time, with Celtic striker Anthony Stokes tweeting: "Commentator just said pilkington pulled out of 5 squads with injuries... I know what to say next time lol".

Stokes is someone who could come into the fold under a new manager, but Pilkington has long been part of Trapattoni's plans.

Having declined a call-up on five occasions, he was thrown in at the deep end on Friday night and he admitted it was a tough place to make his first international appearance.

"It was difficult to come on because they had already sat back and weren't looking to push on that much," he said.

"It's always going to be difficult to break a team down in the last 15 minutes when they are a goal up. It's disappointing but hopefully we can pick ourselves up before Tuesday."

'We were waiting for the Ireland mistakes'

That Sweden were clearly not at their best on Friday night was one of the main frustrations for Ireland fans leaving Lansdowne Road, and when they hear what defender Martin Olsson had to say, it will only add to their depression.

Manager Erik Hamren labelled his opposite number's tactics as "predictable", but the Norwich man went further, saying that the visitors allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic too much space and adding that the Swedes knew Ireland's mistakes would allow them a foothold in the game.

"With a striker like Ibrahimovic, you can't give him time on the ball because he will create chances and that's what they did. We created a few chances and got our confidence back," said Olsson.

"It was all about three points. We came here to win, we had to think smart because Ireland have not lost in a long time. We wanted to sit back, let Ireland make the mistakes and counter-attack. It feels good now."

Lahm to rescue after physio's double injury

Germany's physiotherapist suffered two injuries as he ran on to the pitch to treat a player during Friday's World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Klaus Eder, who has worked for the German federation for 25 years, tore a muscle in his left leg as he went to tend to Marcel Schmelzer, causing him to fall over and break his finger.

"I now have to put into practice what I always tell my patients," the 60-year-old told the German federation's website (www.dfb.de) yesterday. "Patience is important and you should not expect a lot of progress too soon.

"The way the players reacted was very comforting. Philipp Lahm brought me the ice pack, Mesut Ozil and Miroslav Klose held me and led me off the field."

Number of the day

2 Ireland have won just two matches against genuine qualification rivals under Giovanni Trapattoni, both coming against Armenia on the road to Euro 2012.

Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport