Saturday 21 September 2019

'Don't be fooled by the ten points' - Didi Hamann says Ireland will struggle to qualify for Euro 2020

Robbie Brady of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's second goal with team-mate Enda Stevens, left, during the UEFA EURO2020 Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar at Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Robbie Brady of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's second goal with team-mate Enda Stevens, left, during the UEFA EURO2020 Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar at Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Didi Hamann says that Ireland will struggle to qualify for Euro 2020 unless they improve drastically after struggling to beat Gibraltar 2-0 at the Aviva Stadium.

Mick McCarthy's men have reached the halfway stage of the campaign with a strong set of results - three wins and a draw - but have struggled for form despite currently topping the group.

Speaking on RTÉ, Liverpool legend Didi Hamann was critical of Ireland after they secured a valuable 1-1 draw in Denmark last Friday, and was similarly unimpressed after the Boys in Green struggled to put away Gibraltar.

"It was hard work and a hard watch," Hamann said.

Republic of Ireland fans in the stand
Niall Carson/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland fans in the stand Niall Carson/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland fans in the stands Niall Carson/PA Wire
Gibraltar fans Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Republic of Ireland fans in the stands
Republic of Ireland fans in the stands
Gibraltar fans during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group D match
Republic of Ireland fans in the stands Niall Carson/PA Wire
Fans shield their eyes from the sun during the match Niall Carson/PA Wire
Fans outside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Republic of Ireland fans outside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien

"We expected a game that Ireland would control, which they did. Gibraltar weren't any threat whatsoever. Going forward it was not enough. They lacked awareness, little passes, playing one-twos, helping each other.

"I said it on Friday, I just worry. It was the perfect opportunity for the centre forwards to get a bit of confidence. I think the bigger question you have to ask now, because I think we all agree that they weren't good enough with the ball, do we accept it and say this is what they are?

"I struggle to believe that this team is not better than what they have shown in the last two games. These are players that play in the Championship and Premier League."

Ireland have home games against Denmark and Switzerland to come later in the year, as well as away trips to Georgia and Switzerland. The top two teams qualify for Euro 2020, and Hamann says on current form, Ireland will be under pressure to make the cut.

"They have got to be better," Hamann added.

"I know they are in a good position but they have got to improve dramatically.

"I don't think you should be fooled by the ten points because if they don't improve, I think it will be very difficult to finish in the top two."

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