Dunne: We have to hold our hands up
Soccer:Richard Dunne emerged from Ireland training this morning a pale imitation of his usual self, broken, it seems, from the pounding he and his defence have taken in the opening two games of Euro 2012.The Dubliner has for years been seen as the cornerstone of Giovanni Trapattoni's side and will be remembered for numerous heroic performances, but the manner in which Ireland have conceded seven goals in defeats to Croatia and Spain in the last week is hurting him now.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said in Gdynia today. “It’s your dream to go and play in the championships and play well and be brilliant. And it’s just not happened for us, so it’s heartbreaking. As much as we want to do well, we know we haven’t. We are playing against teams that are better than us and it’s hard to accept that our best at the moment isn’t good enough.”
That’s it for Dunne, there are no tactical issues, just a gap in quality.
“We were just playing against a different standard of teams and as much as we want to be the best we have to hold our hands up, we are being beaten by better teams at the moment.
“Hopefully on Monday night we can do our thing and stamp our authority on the game. We are going there to win, that’s the aim against the Italians and hopefully we can get something.”
The most depressing stat dragged up since the 4-0 defeat to Spain this week, is one relating to an unthinkable 3-0 defeat on Monday. If that happens, Ireland will, in terms of bare statistics, be the poorest performers in the history of the European Championships.
They need a big game, they need to produce.
“We have to. We have to straight away. We need to make sure we can get through the first 10 minutes without conceding a goal. Its another game, we’re representing our country so, regardless of how we feel inside, we have to go and give 100 per cent and make sure we turn the hurt into passion and win the game.
“We don’t want to go home because we don’t want to go home feeling like we are. If we win on Monday night it restores a bit of pride, not just in Irish football but in ourselves. There’s more hurt than anyone can imagine, so for ourselves we need to win a game.”
Those early goals have hurt Ireland most. Mario Manszukic’s third minute opener in Poznan and Fernando Torres’s fourth minute strike have deprived Dunne and his team-mates of a chance to settle in to either game.
“We did everything we possibly could, you have to hold your hands up. Our normal game is pressure, pressure, pressure and the teams are too good. It might have been a different tournament if we got through the first 10 minutes in both games. That's the one regret, if we could have got through them we might have seen a different game we might have grown a little bit, we’ve just not had the chance.
The manager has suggested it’s a “psychological problem” but Dunne’s not so sure.
“I just think it’s a complete coincidence that they scored. It happens. I don’t think it’s anything. It's not like it’s this reason or that reason. It’s a game of football they scored in the first minute and it kills you.”