Previous
Juventus
Malmo FF
2
0
FT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Atletico Madrid
3
2
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Ludogorets Razgrad
2
1
FT
Game Details
Real Madrid
FC Basel
5
1
FT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Bayer Leverkusen
1
0
FT
Game Details
Benfica
Zenit St Petersburg
0
2
FT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Arsenal
2
0
FT
Game Details
Galatasaray
Anderlecht
1
1
FT
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
Leeds United
1
3
FT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday
0
2
FT
Game Details
Blackpool
Watford
0
1
FT
Game Details
Brentford
Norwich City
0
3
FT
Game Details
Cardiff City
Middlesbrough
0
1
FT
Game Details
Charlton Athletic
Wolverhampton Wanderers
1
1
FT
Game Details
Huddersfield Town
Wigan Athletic
0
0
FT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Brighton & Hove Albion
2
0
FT
Game Details
Bolton Wanderers
Rotherham United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Reading
Millwall
3
2
FT
Game Details
Colchester United
Sheffield United
2
3
FT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Crawley Town
0
0
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Peterborough United
2
1
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Notts County
Leyton Orient
1
1
FT
Game Details
Port Vale
Bristol City
0
3
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Chesterfield
3
3
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Walsall
4
0
FT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Coventry City
2
1
FT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Oldham Athletic
2
2
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Crewe Alexandra
1
1
FT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Burton Albion
3
0
FT
Game Details
Bury
Stevenage
2
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Exeter City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Southend United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Morecambe
1
0
FT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Hartlepool United
5
1
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Accrington Stanley
3
1
FT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Wycombe Wanderers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Dagenham & Redbridge
3
0
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Carlisle United
1
0
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Newport County
0
0
FT
Game Details
York City
Luton Town
0
0
FT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Braintree Town
1
3
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
AFC Telford United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Nuneaton Town
3
1
FT
Game Details
Chester City
Southport
2
0
FT
Game Details
Dartford
Dover
2
1
FT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Forest Green Rovers
2
2
FT
Game Details
Halifax
Grimsby Town
1
1
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Altrincham
4
0
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Gateshead
1
1
FT
Game Details
Torquay United
Woking
1
0
FT
Game Details
Welling
Lincoln City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Barnet
Wrexham
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rangers
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
1
0
FT
Game Details
Waterhouse
DC United
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruz Azul
Chorrillo FC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Olimpia
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Terán
Cerro Porteño
0
0
LIVE 23'
Leg 1
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
0
0
LIVE 15'
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
Caracas F.C.
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Peñarol
Deportivo Cali
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Guadalajara
Tijuana
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Atlante
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Morelia
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Necaxa
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Zacatepec
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dorados de Sinaloa
Mineros de Zacatecas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Monterrey
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Toluca
UNAM
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
América Mineiro
Bragantino
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Sampaio Correa-MA
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Goianiense
América RN
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Náutico
Joinville
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Ceará
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Boa MG
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
ABC
AA Ponte Preta
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Icasa
Vila Nova-GO
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Luverdense
Santa Cruz FC
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Oeste
CR Vasco da Gama
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Al Hilal
Al-Ain
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Amazulu
Postp
Game Details
Kaizer Chiefs
Maritzburg Utd
Postp
Game Details
Next
Feb 28, 2012

Fringe players look to boost claims

Impossible to ignore, the excitement surrounding the Republic of Ireland team is shared by supporters and players alike. They are getting giddy with each passing day that brings this summer's Euro 2012 finals ever closer.

For Ireland, it is the first time in a decade that they have qualified for a major tournament - and just the fifth overall. The pain of narrowly missing out on the 2010 World Cup due to Thierry Henry's left hand and William Gallas' bundled goal has been replaced by a real buzz.

Back in Dublin this week to host Czech Republic in a friendly at Aviva Stadium on Wednesday, Giovanni Trapattoni's players have a noticeable bounce in their step. Everyone is soaking up the good vibes and eager to be involved - even the injured duo of Stephen Kelly and Keith Fahey checked in to reaffirm their commitment to the cause.

The other side of that keenness comes from the fact that only 23 players will depart for Poland and Ukraine come June. Trapattoni has insisted that he will stay loyal to most of the players who helped them qualify via a play-off win over Estonia, but there are a few places up still up for grabs. And that has added to the atmosphere around the team's training camp in Malahide.

Injuries have opened the door of opportunity to the uncapped trio of Stephen Henderson, Shane Duffy and James McClean, while midfielder Paul Green returns after a 16-month exile. Whether they can do enough in training and against the Czechs to force their way into the Irish squad remains to be seen, but their presence turns the heat up on those who may have felt their ticket to the finals was locked down.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding McClean following his superb displays for Sunderland, where he has netted three goals in 14 games. A direct winger with the terrifying combination of power, pace and precision, he has been one of the stand-out players in the Premier League this season. Yet, he was originally left out of the Irish squad by Trapattoni with the wily Italian insisting that he was one for the future.

That stance has now changed with McClean very much in the reckoning to make a late push for the Euro squad. And the 22-year-old, who starred for Derry City just last year, becomes the latest Irish league export to make the step up to the senior ranks with six others in the current squad. He is a special talent and that is why he will get his chance against the Czechs.

"I have watched McClean more than twice and I think he is a good player. But the young players must understand what happens in the dressing room and on the pitch for the Irish team. So we will give them a chance," said Marco Tardelli, the assistant manager.

"The team must have experience but sometimes it's possible to put one young player into the team, but the young player must be very good."

Up to 20th in FIFA's world rankings, Ireland have every reason to be confident. Yet, the daunting duels against Croatia, Spain and Italy in three Group C games in June cannot be shied away from. They will be mammoth tests for a team that has been described as 'rigid', 'predictable' and 'unadventrous'.

However, there is a resilience about Trapattoni's side that frustrates opponents as they boast impressive defensive stats - going on an eight-game run of clean sheets - and work tirelessley to shut other teams down. But will that be enough against passmasters like Spain, the dangerous Croatia and the cunning Italians? Possibly, but Trapattoni needs to start devising a Plan B.

Yes, the 4-4-2 system that is based around keeping things tight and making the most of set-pieces works. But Ireland possess players like McClean, Damien Duff, Jonathan Walters and Shane Long who have really hurt teams by stretching them out wide. And with Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle able to wreak havoc in the middle, supported by a willing runner from midfield in Keith Andrews, James McCarthy or Fahey, all signs suggest that a switch to a 4-3-3 set-up might actually work.

Of course, Trapattoni can be ultra conserative at the best of times and confusing his players with a new style of play with just three friendlies before the Euro finals might seem foolish to him. Nevertheless, it could be the difference of advancing at the tournament or making an early exit.

The confidence and the quality is there in the squad, now it's time to see some bravery from the manager. Ireland have done incredibly well to book a place at the Euros, so it would be a shame if they take that for granted and not look to keep improving.

After all, that confidence will quickly disappear if the winning run turns to an embarrassing stretch of defeats. Football can be a fickle game.

• Twitter: @garethmaher

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.