France player by player
Club: Olympique Lyon Age: 22 Caps: 6 Goals: 0
Some Irish fans might be heartened by the fact that Lloris shipped five goals in his most recent outing – during the remarkable 5-5 draw against Marseille – but don’t let that aberration fool you. The novice is a commanding presence in goal.
Club: Arsenal Age: 26 Caps: 14 Goals: 0
Despite initial misgivings following a big money move to London, the former Auxerre defender has matured into the one the Premier League’s most coveted players.
Club: Manchester United Age: 28 Caps: 24 Goals: 0
Evra has admitted the build-up to tonight’s game has been an unsettling experience. But the full back’s ability to unsettle Ireland down the left will be of more concern to Trapattoni.
Club: Arsenal Age: 32 Caps: 76 Goals: 3
Prone to the odd bout of brain freeze, Gallas has all the tools to be one of the game’s finest central defenders but a suspect temperament occasionally conspires against him. What is often overlooked, however, is his ability on attacking set-pieces.
Club: Barcelona Age: 30 Caps: 44 Goals: 0
The defender has been singled out by some as the weak link in the French defence and there’s a case to be made for it. He’s more at home on the left flank than he is in the centre, where he’s likely to start today, and is prone to be muscled out of it by imposing frontmen. Kevin Doyle will undoubtedly trying his best to be the latest to rattle Abidal.
Club: Real Madrid Age: 24 Caps: 24 Goals: 0
Unable to prevent Real Madrid’s humiliating exit from the Copa del Rey on Tuesday night, Diarra’s move to Spain last season ensured yet more comparisons to Claude Makelele. Rarely spectacular, the former Portsmouth midfielder keeps the French ticking over and provides a more than effective shield in front of a vulnerable central defensive partnership.
Club: Girondins Bordeaux Age: 28 Caps: 22 Goals: 0
The Bordeaux midfielder, is the likely replacement should Jérémy Toulalan fail to prove his fitness. Following unhappy spells at Bayern and Liverpool, Diarra is now enjoying the good life in Bordeaux.
Club: Girondins Bordeaux Age: 23 Caps: 14 Goals: 1
The French league’s player of the year has really delivered on his potential since moving back to Bordeaux from AC Milan. He can be a menace between midfield and attack but his goal return leaves a bit to be desired — for Domenech at least.
Club: Barcelona Age: 32 Caps: 115 Goals: 51
The man with the va-va-voom needs little introduction. Injury has hampered him of late, but he’s more likely than most to spoil any party Ireland have planned.
Club: Chelsea Age: 30 Caps: 61 Goals: 13
The former Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City and current Chelsea striker possesses sublime talent and a new-found maturity that appears to have softened his outlook on life.
Club: Toulouse Age: 23 Caps: 8 Goals: 4
The Toulouse hitman has four goals in six appearances in the qualifying campaign, though three of them came against the Faro Islands. If he starts, Shay Given will be kept on his toes by the Frenchman’s shoot on sight policy.
Compiled by Noel O’Reilly