Germany tear Ireland to shreds
Republic of Ireland 1 Germany 6:Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign as Republic of Ireland boss hurtled into crisis as his side was trounced by ruthless Germany at the Aviva Stadium.
The 73-year-old headed into what was always likely to be an intensely difficult World Cup qualifier with question marks hanging over his ability to take Ireland forward, and emerged from it with his band of critics having increased markedly in number.
Ireland were simply overpowered by the team ranked second in the world with Marco Reus firing them into a 2-0 half-time lead before Mesut Ozil, Miroslav Klose and a double from substitute Toni Kroos completed the rout.
There was delighted applause from a capacity crowd when substitute Andy Keogh headed home in injury time, but the consolation was minimal.
Neither Trapattoni’s job nor Ireland qualification hopes were ever likely to rest on what they did against the Germans, but the soul-destroying manner of the heaviest defeat of his tenure, which heaped further misery upon the shortcomings of their Euro 2012 campaign, set alarm bells ringing.
Deprived of the services of the retired Shay Given and Damien Duff and the injured Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Glenn Whelan, Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane, Trapattoni’s understudies simply never got to grips with a technically superior team.
Tuesday’s trip to the Faroe Islands, who suffered a narrow home defeat at the hands of Sweden earlier tonight, now represents a key fixture for a man whose honeymoon period is now a distant memory.
It was a measure of the changes wrought on Trapattoni’s squad by retirement and injury that the team which ran out against Italy in Poznan in Ireland’s final game at Euro 2012 boasted a total 721 caps; tonight’s team had mustered just 268 between them before kick-off, and 136 of those belonged to John O’Shea and Aiden McGeady.
After several days of a will-he-won’t-he debate over Trapattoni’s indication that he might opt to play three men in central midfield, the Italian did just that.
His reasoning was two-fold: an extra body in their might just help his side retain possession better, and one of the trio could attempt to shadow dangerman Ozil.
The game started relatively positively for the home side when lone striker Jon Walters laid off Keiren Westwood’s clearance to Keith Andrews and he dragged his shot from distance wide. But that proved to be a rarity as the Germans eased into their stride and started to dictate the play.