LIAM BRADY was over 1,000 miles from Gdansk on Thursday night, but yesterday, on RTE, he claimed that Giovanni Trapattoni's post-match comments, which blamed the players, were manipulated. He has obviously mastered the art of bi-location.
It seems only fair to set the record straight. Now, this parish has consistently argued that Brady is missed from the Irish set-up because of his ability to clarify linguistic misunderstandings. Yet there was no ambiguity here. Trapattoni spoke Italian from the outset. His words were interpreted by a number of official UEFA translators through a remote control service that is available to all journalists.
On three separate occasions, Trapattoni spoke about his players being afflicted by fear and tension. Brady also hinted that the Irish media put their heads together and went down a specific line of questioning. Not so. Indeed, the 73-year-old's initial comments came in response to queries from media from other countries. So, there was no agenda at play here. Just genuine surprise that the manager spoke so strongly on the matter.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
127 Passes completed by Xavi during Thursday night's masterclass. The entire Irish side managed 178 as a whole. Indeed, Xavi managed to execute more passes than the collective of St Ledger, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, McGeady, Cox, Keane, Green, Walters and McClean.
Kilbane gets one-up on ratings hacks
At least there was one Irish victory during the trip. Before Thursday's game, the visiting media contingent following Trapattoni's side trotted onto the pristine playing surface at the Arka Stadium for a match. It resulted in a 4-3 victory for the Whites over the Greens, an achievement considering the latter had Kevin Kilbane in their ranks.
Alas, it wasn't enough, although it must be said that the extremely generous Kilbane did show a degree of sympathy by choosing to find a team-mate on a number of occasions when the shot was on. But the generosity doesn't extend too far. Kilbane took his revenge on those who frequently awarded him 5/10 over the years by rating the performance of each individual player. Harsh words were said.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"We know our problem. We achieve the qualify with these players. We must have respect for these players. That is important. I am proud to have these teams, qualify. The first 45 minutes. One nil, for the Spain. With this mistake. Spain" -- Trapattoni's English was okay at times yesterday, but it's soliloquies like this one which leave the audience gasping for coherent translation.