Monday, June 18, 2012
Playing for Pride
Kickoff approaches for the final appearance of the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2012. What had promised to be a positive experience for the Boys in Green, another trademark overachieving display, fuelled by grit, graft & heart, has turned out to be anything but. 2 disappointing, lopsided losses to opponents that vastly outclassed them, not to mentioned the not at all unexpected broadsides from Roy Keane, has meant the team's excursion to eastern Europe will result in a vast disappointment & nothing tangible left to play for on this final matchday.
Except one thing, pride the boys still have that to play for. One final occasion to showcase their skills, one final occasion to play before the world, one final occasion to give the fans long journey to Poland a tangible takeaway. For 3 of the 4 halves already played, Ireland have been anything but what we've come to expect, even demand. They've played limp, almost lifeless for 75% of their match action so far, it's time for them to actaully show up & play the way we all know they are capable of Sure it will be tough against italy, but some key things to remember. Firstly, this addition of the Azurri is a far cry from the teams of yesteryear. There are glaring holes for them to exploit in this side, no to mention combustible personalities just waiting to explode.
There's also the storyline that has been drawing much attention in the buildup to the tournament, Trapattoni taking on his homeland, whom he managed at the Euros 8 years ago. Will the former manager of the Italian National Team get one over his former charges? will the master school the student, in this case current boss Cesare Prandelli, yet again. Trap is unbeaten in 3 against Italy, with the last match being a win in a friendly last year. Can he do it once again, & knock out Italy in the process? I have no doubt Trap is taking this match seriously & will have ireland well prepared for the task at hand
I'm thinking they will pull it off today, & pull off a 1-0 win, just like they did in 1994 & wouldn't ya know, it's the 18th anniversary of that famous win today! Destiny anyone?