Humiliated, hammered and caught in a Trap
It was opposition of a quality not dissimilar to that which made our Euro 2012 all a bit harrowing. Croatia, Spain, Italy, and now Germany.
What next? (The Faroe Islands – but no one’s chicken counting any more. In truth, the Faroes will probably now be tempted to rest a few of their key players for Tuesday’s game).
A slew of familiar faces were missing, among them Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle, James McClean and Glenn Whelan, absent through injury or because they reckoned they’d served their time.
Or, in Darron Gibson’s case, concluding life’s just too short to be sitting on a bench. If he tuned in last night, he might not decide to rush back.
Youth wasn’t quite given its fling in Trapattoni’s starting line-up, though, apart from Séamus Coleman and James McCarthy being granted another chance to prove he can, possibly, trust them to curb their attacking instincts.
If the result wasn’t embarrassing enough, the announcement of Jonathan Walters as man of the match was like rubbing salt into a festering wound.
German coach Joachim Löw had said lots of nice things about the Irish team this week, and then he named a line-up that looked a little like a Fantasy Football dream team, one that included the likes of Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Thomas Mueller. There ended Low’s generosity to his hosts, then.
He insisted that Ireland had impressed him at Euro 2012 with their fighting spirit. It was a kind of a “you’ll never beat the Irish” tribute, and he didn’t even smile. And then his team mullered us.
It was horrible stuff, the despondency in the stands matching that of the Irish players on the pitch. You can only hope Coleman, McCarthy and the younger crew can erase the experience from their memory bank some time soon.
When Germany got their sixth they barely celebrated, it was all too easy.
Still Trapattoni bellowed instructions from the sideline, but when his face appeared on the stadium’s big screen he wore the look of a man as defeated as his team.
In Irish footballing folklore, it’ll go down as one of those “where were you when . . .” questions. The supporters drifting away will probably regret “being there”.
On to the Faroe Islands, then. No spring in the step, just a limp.