February 21, 2018

Ireland need more than fighting spirit

14 November 2017, 07:20 | Henrietta Morgan

Roy Keane argues with Peter Schmeichel during a Manchester United game against Leeds United in 1995. Source John Giles PA Archive PA Images


Ireland and Denmark played out one of the most boring 0-0 draws in recent memory in Copenhagen on Saturday but, if the pre-match rhetoric is anything to go by, the return leg at the Aviva Stadium tonight should be a cracker. "Everybody wants to play at a World Cup and we are 90 minutes away from it".

All these years on, people still want to talk to me about our great run to the quarter-finals of Italia'90 and the wonderful win we had against Italy at the Giants Stadium at USA'94 and I'll never grow exhausted of looking back on it.

"I think it's important for us to have that. We're going to do everything in our power to qualify".

Meyler got to see how Ireland play from the sidelines in Denmark, as opposed to his usual role in the centre of things, and he clearly likes what he sees.

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I'm sure the Ireland players who will take to the field in Dublin tonight have the same ambition, but they seem to struggle to play to the level we know they are capable of under pressure.

"But the lads did very well the other night and now we need to continue and make sure that we go to Russian Federation".

"I think if you have an element of that spirit then you can overcome a number of hurdles".

"I think that spirit is inbred in the team and in the country".

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"It's obviously a lot different if you're involved". "If you're not, you're sitting there watching the game, you're heading and kicking every ball and screaming, 'Run here!', 'Close here!', 'Tackle there!'".

As a Championship player, Meyler's battles with Danes of of late have come when his Hull side and the Danish-influenced Brentford clashed, so he's he's now only able to admire - or try to kick - Christian Eriksen from afar. It will have to be the same tomorrow, but it's not just Eriksen.

Both teams contributed to a woeful game that saw the players on show unable to handle the pressure of a game that had the biggest of prizes up for grabs for the victor.

"Listen, they didn't score and we kept them quiet".

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"They have been crucial for us in the last few years - in previous campaigns and this campaign".

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