Friday 23 February 2018

Ignored trio show Trap just what they can do

The bibs remained unchanged at Malahide yesterday and it looks increasingly likely that Ireland will field a central midfield partnership of Paul Green and Glenn Whelan in Stockholm tomorrow night.

That's unless Giovanni Trapattoni has a change of heart after seeing the performance of the trio that opposed his apparent first choice in training.

With a flurry of one-touch passes, James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick (pictured) and Wes Hoolahan pulled their squad-mates all over the shortened pitch and clearly got the better of the fare in the end-of-training match.

Their touch and movement were a joy to behold as they carved the first-choice midfield and defence open time and time again.

Perhaps it was to give the team some practice for coping with Zlatan and friends, but maybe it would be better to try and implement some of their good work in competitive action.

Wishful thinking.

Loew tempts fate by baiting Kazakh minnows

WITH the Irish build-up to Sweden so wrapped up in the magnitude of the game, there hasn't been much attention paid to the other fixtures being played in the group.

It's accepted Germany will stroll to qualification despite their second-half horror show against the Swedes, so Giovanni Trapattoni hasn't been asked about their clash with Kazakhstan tomorrow.

But German boss Joachim Loew has managed to wind up the Kazakhs ahead of the game by lumping them in with the other minnows who are sometimes mentioned as possibles for pre-tournament qualifying.

"I'm not sure it makes sporting sense to play teams twice like Kazakhstan, Andorra, San Marino and the Faroe Islands," he said.

Clearly, he doesn't view the Kazakhs as the force Trapattoni talked up in the wake of his team's Kevin Doyle-inspired win there in September.

Quote of the day

"If the boss had called him, then you would say to me it was better if he had sent an SMS; if the boss has sent him an SMS, you would tell me it is better to call"

Marco Tardelli on Kevin Doyle's unhappiness at the manner in which he was told of his exclusion. Do you know of anyone who would argue that a text message is more appropriate than a phone call? If so, drop us a line.

Number of the day

11Times Sweden have qualified for the World Cup finals, with their last appearance coming in 2006. Their best finishing position was in 1958, when they were runners-up on home soil. They finished third in 1950 and 1994, but didn't qualify for the World Cups which took place in the 1960s and 1980s.

compiled by daniel mcdonnell and ruaidhri O'Connor

Irish Independent

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