Ireland 0 – France 1: A Cruel Fate For Trap’s Superior Side

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Anelka's Lucky Strike Lifted France/ AP Photo by Peter Morrison

Irish eyes are crying after an unjust result at Croke Park threatens to eliminate a national team that many neutrals wanted to see in South Africa. Irish fans add something to every tournament the nation qualifies for. Fans here in Florida can attest to the great spirit the Irish traveling contingent as well as Manager Jack Charlton (who of course, is English) brought to World Cup 1994, and in particular the Orlando venue. A distinct flavor misses from the World Cup without Irish or Scottish qualification.

Yesterday’s match at Croke Park was dominated tactically and physically by the better organized Irish side. However, Nicolas Anelka’s lucky strike confined Ireland to defeat. As has been the case for thirty years, Giovanni Trapattoni demonstrated once again that he is one of the best tactical managers world football has ever seen.

Raymond Dommench on the other hand had no tactical plan. His attempts to impose some flair on the match with three attackers backfired tremendously. Trapattoni’s side showed a spirit and desire that the French side, reportedly in complete disarray lacked. Damien Duff, Richard Dunne, Keith Andrews and John O’Shea all looked decidedly superior to their French counterparts on the day.

Even Ireland’s substitutes led by the high flying Leon Best from Coventry showed a fight that the French players lacked. But alas, in football sometimes funny things happen and this result was bitterly unjust and leaves an emotional void for the neutral whose affection for this Irish side has grown through the years.

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