France v Ireland – Irish face uphill struggle to reach World Cup

15th November 2009 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

Wednesday, November 18th
8.00pm Kick Off

France (1) v Ireland (0)

It was the good France which turned up at Croke Park on Saturday. The French were fairly dominant throughout the entire match, despite almost digging themselves into a hole on a couple of occasions through sloppy play. The plucky Irish could not cope with the quality that the French, looking quite inventive at times, could throw at them. Giovanni Trapattoni’s men looked up for the task during a rambunctious National Anthem sing-along, but their passion never quite translated into enough skill to do anything other than play second fiddle to the French. The conceding of an away will have hurt them a lot, as the French are usually good for a goal or too, if not being a high scoring team at the moment. It was Chelsea’s Nicolas Anelka who dealt the lethal blow just after the seventy minute mark. By that stage the home side were tiring, and were looking to be chasing the game, even though they were at 0-0.

The blow was made worse by being a deflected shot from Anelka, which found its way past Irish keeper Shay Given. The Irish boss will have to come up with something special to find a way to break down the French in Paris on Wednesday night. What will be giving them hope though, is the fact that the night could have ended a lot worse for the Irish. French striker Gignac, who was playing alongside Thierry Henry and Anelka, had a goal disallowed, and a couple of defensive errors could have seen Ireland behind by a couple at the half time break. But they hung on, hoping to rejuvenate and strike in the second half, using their counter attacking at pace tactics. But the French were too good, too patient and careful in their probing passing, and about 60 minutes into the match, the difference really started to show.

The French exerted even more controlled pressure, and the Irish were broken when Anelka slipped his shot away, which came off Irish defender St Ledger, beating Given. It is likely now that the French will need just one goal in their own backyard, as it will be hard to see the Irish, a relatively low scoring team, being two goals better than the French. But all is not done, and there is still ninety minutes, maybe more of World Cup dreams to cling on to. They will need to be a lot tighter in defence though, and find a better solution to breaking up the supply lines from the French midfield. Goal scorer Anelka looked sharp and the main threat coming from France, and Trapattoni will need to tighten up on him, not letting pull quite as many strings as he did.

Match Odds Only:
France to win: 4/7 at William Hill
Draw: 3/1 at SKyBet
Ireland to win: 6/1 at Paddy Power

Prediciton: Ireland will need to come out all guns ablazing to rock the French early on. The longer the game goes on without an Irish goal, the more the French will settle, and be able to pick off Trapattoni’s men. Sometimes temperamental and lacklustre, the French on Saturday showed their good side, and that they are good enough to be playing in South Africa 2010. The Irish will try and try in Paris until they can run no more, but you feel they needed to take an advantage there with them, which they didn’t. They do not appear to be two goals better than France.
 




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