Irish eyes now turn to the World Cup and Russia 2018. Republic of Ireland players can be reasonably proud of their performances, as their Euro 2016 participation ends. The Boys in Green, came up against a very determined host nation in France. Despite going behind to an early goal via Robbie Brady, the French didn’t wilt in the Lyon sunshine. Les Bleus, with flair players at their disposal such as Dimitri Payet and goal scoring hero Antoine Griezmann, dominated in the second half and were deserved 2-1 victors.
How Can The Irish Build On The Euros?
Ireland’s record in the Euros ends with one win, one draw and two losses. This on the face of it is not a stellar performance. However, this Irish team has punched above its weight, both in qualification and in advancing to the knockout rounds. Martin O’Neill will now have some rebuilding work to do, as senior players like Robbie Keane, Shay Given and John O’Shea will surely retire.
Ageing will also have to factor into future planning. Current stalwarts such as Jonathan Walters and Wes Hoolahan are all approaching their mid thirties. However there should be cause for optimism given the younger standout performers such as Seamus Coleman, Shane Duffy, Robbie Brady and James McClean. All are now seasoned international players following this tournament.
Coaches Roy Keane and O’Neil are cautious in their tactical approach to games. Resilience is fine, but to progress in knockout football, teams must be adventurous also. Ireland’s weaknesses, not only in this tournament but traditionally, is the lack of killer instinct. This over cautious mentality may need to be adjusted for World Cup preparation. Changes in mindset can possibly move Ireland from being just a resilient team to being a winning team.
Irish Eyes Now Turn To The World Cup.
The Boys in Green’s World Cup 2018 qualifying group should be one that Keane and O’Neill can feel confident of qualifying from. Wales would seem on merit to be the initial favourites, with the Irish a close second. Austria and Serbia may now be outsiders to win the group. September and the start of qualification matches will arrive quickly. Irish coaches will have to work diligently, in order to infuse new blood and to reinvigorate the squad. Progress has definitely been made in international tournament play. The Republic of Ireland will now be considered formidable foes in the race to qualify for the next World Cup.