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Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Bit of a Craic'er - Northern Ireland v Wales

Result : Northern Ireland 2 Wales 3

Now this was a football match. While neither team had anything to play for in terms of qualification, national pride meant that here was a match that both teams really wanted to win. And it was a cracking game of soccer. Certainly put England v Austria in the shade.

Lawrie Sanchez - a man for whom I have a great deal of time - had his Northern Ireland playing like a team; something that Svennis the Menace seems unable to reproduce with England. I like to see international sides that play like a team that plays with each other every week. It's a sign of a quality manager/coaching staff and makes for more attractive football.

The Wales team didn't have this, but what they do have is some top class Premiership players, like Ryan Giggs and Simon Davies. That kind of width and delivery combined with the attacking threat of Hartson and Earnshaw meant a great game of soccer.

Basically, Giggs and Davies ran riot and the Northern Ireland defence couldn't cope. The Irish were also hamstrung by consistently pinging balls to Jones' back post and hoping Quinn would nod them down. Not a good tactic when your team's best players - Healy and Davis - play better with the ball at their feet.

It's no surprise that when Northern Ireland played more passing football in the second half they got themselves back in the game. This was one match where a draw would have been a satisfying result for the neutral and supporter alike.

posted by mark_s at 9:54 AM


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