Posted by The Staff
on 12 Oct 2010. Filed under Sport
, Top news
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Slovakia take on the Irish in crucial group match
On a cold chilly night in Zilina yesterday, the Irish team had their final training session before today’s all-important match against Slovakia in what will decide the early group leaders after four matches. The Slovak team, on the other hand, trained yesterday morning in slightly warmer conditions, so will the Irish be better accustomed to the cold as the two teams meet at 20:30 this evening, 12 October?
The two sides go into the match with six points, having both lost their matches on Friday. Slovakia lost 3-1 away to a determined Armenian side in a match that most people thought they would win, while Ireland lost to Russia 3-2. Some Irish fans we spoke to in Bratislava said it could even have been 6 or 7.
So the green army from the Emerald Isle already started invading Slovakia on Saturday afternoon, making the most of a small break while following their beloved team.
Both teams are without key players for the match. Slovakia are without Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel following a 2nd yellow card in the competition, and manager Vladimir Weiss snr. has said that there would be 3 changes to the side that played in Armenia on Friday.
Ireland are without influential striker Kevin Doyle with a knee injury, and Ireland’s assistant manager Marco Tardelli noted that the young players in the squad (Shane Long and Andy Keogh) are ready to make their mark – the former came on as a sub against Russia and scored.
So, what can we expect this evening? Both defences certainly need to tighten up, but a goal or two looks assured. More moments of brilliance from ‘Vladino’ Weiss, and hopefully Marek Hamsik will have his Napoli boots on to prove to us why he’s the hottest property at Napoli. Ireland may be giving a debut to Ipswich’s Brian Murphy, who at 27 will relish the chance to impress.
Our prediction: 1-1
Guest writer: Alwyn Robinson