Lethargic Irish are no match for Japan


Republic of Ireland - 0 Japan - 2:TOULAN UNDER-21 TOURNAMENT:A lethargic Irish side got off to the worst possible tournament start against a well organised Japan side in Nimes last night. Their opponents ran out comfortable winners, having built up a 2-0 first-half lead with goals from Koji Yamase and Satoshi Nakayama

Ireland made a match of it in the second half when they upped the tempo, but the damage had been done. "It was a dreadfully poor performance by us, particularly the first 40 minutes," said a disappointed Ireland manager Don Givens.

Ireland had their first real chance of the match seven minutes into the second half but Graham Barrett's effort was saved by Yosuke Fujigaya, who also thwarted Barrett on 54 minutes with a superb stop. Jonathan Daly was then denied by the outstanding Japanese goalkeeper minutes later.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Murphy (Tranmere Rovers); Douglas (Blackburn Rovers), Goodwin (Celtic), O'Callaghan (Barnsley), Foy (Nottingham Forest); Byrne (West Ham), Miller (Celtic), Doyle (Celtic); Barrett (Arsenal), Daly (Stockport County), Reid (Nottingham Forest). Subs: Heffernan (Notts County) for Daly (55 mins.), Cash (Nottingham Forest) for Reid (65 mins.), Gamble (Reading) for Doyle (74 mins.)

JAPAN: Fujigaya; Nakazato, Moniwa, Nasu; Suzuki, Abe, Morisaki, Komano; Matsui, Yamase, Nakayama. Subs: Ishikawa for Nakazato (33 mins), Tahara for Nakayama (54 mins), Mita for Matsui (69 mins.).

Referee: M Ryszka (Poland).