Featured Matches
Previous
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Perugia
Bologna
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Union Berlin
Nurnberg
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
RB Leipzig
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfR Aalen
Kaiserslautern
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AJ Auxerre
Valenciennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajaccio GFCO
Troyes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chateauroux
Orléans
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Créteil
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nimes
Arles
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Niort
Clermont Foot
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sochaux
Dijon FCO
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade Laval
AC Ajaccio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Go Ahead Eagles
Willem II Tilburg
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Fortuna Sittard
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Den Bosch
Jong Ajax
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Helmond Sport
NEC Nijmegen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Jong PSV
FC Eindhoven
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
Jong FC Twente
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SC Stormvogels Telstar
Almere City
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sparta Rotterdam
FC Volendam
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Emmen VV
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Academica de Coimbra
Vitoria Setubal
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
Terek Grozny
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Akhisar Belediye
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Caykur Rizespor
Genclerbirligi
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KAA Gent
KV Kortrijk
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Helsingborg
Halmstad
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Orebro SK
Brommapojkarna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Athlone Town FC
Cork
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bray
UCD
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derry City
St Patricks
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dundalk
Bohemians
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Limerick FC
Drogheda Utd
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shamrock
Sligo
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Glenavon
Ballymena
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Coleraine
Portadown
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
Monterrey
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
U. de G.
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Aberystwyth
Bangor City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carmarthen
Port Talbot
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newi Cefn Druids
Connah's Quay
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Airbus UK
Newtown
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
T.N.S.
Rhyl
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
Atlético Tucumán
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión de Santa Fe
Crucero del Norte
7:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Huracán
Patronato
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Ferro Carril Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Temperley
Sp. Belgrano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
San Martín de San Juan
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
At. San Luis
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Lobos BUAP
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Joinville
Oeste
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
América Mineiro
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Goianiense
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Arica
Palestino
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
Postp
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Moroka Swallows
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chippa United
Ajax Cape Town
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Marcotti: Platini's missed opportunity

FIFA 23 hours ago
Read
Aug 12, 2010

A lot done, plenty more to do for Ireland

A large crowd turned out on Wednesday evening to witness Republic of Ireland put in an admirable performance against Argentina at the redeveloped Aviva Stadium.

The final scoreline of a 1-0 defeat against the two-time World Cup winners was credible enough, and Gonzalo Higuain was clearly offside in the build-up to Angel Di Maria's goal.

The purpose of this friendly, other than showing off the Aviva Stadium, was for Giovanni Trapattoni's team to prepare for their upcoming 2012 European Championship qualifying campaign.

That meant there was little chance of the players in green shirts adopting a joga bonito-style of play. Instead, they stuck to the flat 4-4-2 formation and relied on set-pieces and breakaways to create chances.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with that as it led to Ireland coming through their last qualifying group unbeaten, but there is a noticeable lack of creativity in their general play and that is something that could ultimately cost them.

Paired in Group 2 along with Russia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra, the expectations for Ireland are to qualify automatically for the finals in Poland and Ukraine. However, that could prove to be a tough task.

On Wednesday, they were missing a lengthy list of players that included Sean St Ledger, Marc Wilson, Glenn Whelan, Liam Lawrence, Aiden McGeady, Shane Long, Caleb Folan and Kevin Doyle. Although, from the 15 players that did grace the pitch in Dublin, it was obvious that some areas in the team need to be strengthened. The most immediate would be the striking department, which fails to inspire confidence once one looks past Robbie Keane and Doyle.

Cillian Sheridan was given a chance to impress against Argentina, although he went missing so early in the match that it was a wasted opportunity. For a striker who is meant to hold the ball up and link play, he rarely gets involved in the action.

So who are the other possible striking options? The obvious ones are Folan, Long and Best, but there are others further down the pecking order that deserve a closer look. Among those is Anthony Stokes, who was the star player for the Ireland Uner-21s on Tuesday evening in a 5-0 thrashing of Estonia as he scored twice and set up two others. If he can keep scoring at club level for Hibernian then he should get more chances.

Then there is Celtic's Daryl Murphy, Ipswich Town's Jonathan Walters and even West Brom's Simon Cox, who qualifies for Ireland through his grandmother. However, they have not popped up on Trapattoni's radar for quite some time.

The other conundrum surrounds the selection of Paul McShane at right back. While there is no doubt that the Hull City man is fully committed, he is also a massive liability at international level.

With more assured full backs like Fulham's Stephen Kelly and Wolves' Kevin Foley on the bench, there was a lot of head-scratching at the Aviva Stadium as to why McShane continues to get the nod to start.

If McShane is a disaster waiting to be exposed, then security can be found in the central areas of the team. And it is that solid spine which should help to keep them in contention for automatic qualification.

On the plus side, Paul Green has emerged as a real find. In his three games for Ireland so far, he has shown that he is ready to become Whelan's new midfield partner and jump ahead of both Keith Andrews and Darron Gibson in the pecking order.

Green can act as a driving force from the centre, but he does not possess the eye for a pass or the finishing power that Wigan's James McCarthy does. If Trapattoni is to guide his team to automatic qualification then room needs to be found in his system for McCarthy.

While things are definitely on the right track for Ireland, it is now time to gather up some steam and show that they can't be easily derailed when it comes to the all-important games. Gareth Maher covers Irish football for ESPNsoccernet. Check out his website, www.garethmaher.com, to read more of his writing

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.