So that’s that ... Ireland lose 2-0 at home to Greece putting a dagger into any chances of qualifying from their group for Euro 2028. There’s still some hope of securing a playoff based on Nations League ranking and depending on results in other groups. But again, slim chances.
With 58 per cent possession and 18 shots, Ireland had some chances and plenty of ball, and were unfortunate to be 2-0 at the interval. But overall Greece deserved their win. Ireland lose five from six.
Keep an eye on the homepage for the match report and reaction. Thanks for joining us tonight.
FT Ireland 0 Greece 2
Ogbene: “The first 10 minutes we started well. I don’t think we deserved to be 2-0 down with the chances we created. I’m disappointed ... I don’t know what to say to you. We didn’t take our chances and we just weren’t sharp enough in possession.”
FT Ireland 0 Greece 2 Some boos at the full time whistle. Ireland’s slim hopes of finishing in the top two are gone. Five defeats from six.
Robinson picks out Idah who does well to get his head on it at the back post but it’s off target. Ogbene is announced as the Irish player of the match. (93 mins)
About three minutes wasted there as the officials tried to figure out if Greece had made too many subs, they haven’t. Five minutes added on.
Adam Idah is on for Ogbene. Strange switch, he’s tiring but he’s been our best player. Five minutes for Ireland to score three. (86 mins)
Knight wins the ball in the middle and plays it to Johnston who cuts across goal where Robinson’s shot is wide of the bottom left corner. The subs combining well.
Johnston runs at them again and wins a corner. He takes it himself. Doherty heads it back post and it’s saved off the line. Getting closer. A minute later Doherty does the exact same again and the goalkeeper makes a good save before coming out and flapping at the subsequent corner kick. (82 mins)
France still leading the Netherlands 2-0 in Amsterdam, as in Dublin a frustrated Ferguson takes on a shot from distance and the Meath man blazes it over the bar.
Lovely ball in from the left by Manning, but Ogbene is beaten to it at the back post. Ireland not giving up but they are lacking creativity particularly in the middle of the park. Johnston wins a free kick, doing as Ogbene had been in the first half and running at the Greeks. Manning whips it in, Greece head it clear, Cullen puts it back in and Duffy’s header is deflected into the goalkeeper. (76 mins)
Ireland 0 Greece 2 (70′) Finally, 25 minutes into a lifeless second half Ireland make some changes. Mikey Johnston and Callum Robinson are on for Browne and Smallbone.
Ireland need three goals and still have just one striker on the field. Browne and Doherty combine but the latter sees his attempted cross charged down. At the other end Liam Scales makes a good block to deny a third Greek goal.
Duffy gives up on the passing out and puts in two crossfield balls. Ireland win the second ball on each occasion and work it out to Smallbone. His cross is flicked on by Ferguson and Ireland appeal for a penalty after Knight went down. But that would’ve been a harsh enough call and the referee is having none of it. (63 mins)
Ireland 0 Greece 2 (59′) More good work by Knight to make space and pick Doherty out on the right wing. He sends in a pacey cross but it’s well defended.
Smallbone’s corner comes to Doherty but he’s unable to get a shot away. Knight does well to win it back and he’s cynically fouled. Smallbone’s free-kick hits Duffy at the back post and his looping header across goal and the subsequent cross into the box are all headed clear. Ireland finally coming back into it after a dominant start to the half by Greece. (56 mins)
France lead the Netherlands 2-0 in Amsterdam. Kylian Mbappe on the double. The result both Ireland and Greece were looking for.
Ireland 0 Greece 2 (48′) Greece not sitting back here as they press Ireland who look to pass out and Shane Duffy is forced to cut across and clear the danger for a throw in. No changes in the Irish set up other than the personnel switch at the back.
Ireland in that first half - 55 per cent possession. Nine shots (Greece seven), two on target (five for Greece). Ireland three corners (Greece 1).
Ryan Manning is on for Collins with Scales going to centre back.
HT Ireland 0 Greece 2 In fairness that second goal was completely against the run of play and Ireland do not deserve to be two down. But in a way it’s putting us out of our misery, every good Irish attacking opportunity ends with really poor decision making. It’s all huff and puff. With Ogbene a bit of a one man team in that first half. Huge improvements needed. Evan Ferguson’s effort from outside the box off the post is as close as we’ve come.
Ireland 0 Greece 2 (48′) Greece counter with Ireland calling for handball. Poor defending. Collins tries to play offside. The first cross is met at the back post with a scuffed effort but the follow up attempt is buried into the bottom corner by Giorgos Masouras. Irish defenders reacting rather than proacting and taking control of the situation.
Ireland win it back in the middle and create an overlap down the left. Scales send in a lovely cross. Ogbene looks to be meeting it at the back post but Tsimikas gets across him. Then Ogbene wins a corner but Smallbone’s delivery doesn’t beat the first man. Really poor.
That man once more, Ogbene, even when doubled up on. He backs himself and wins a free-kick. Smallbone picks out Shane Duffy but he can’t get enough power on the header and it’s comfortably saved. Ireland are improving though. Three minutes added on.
Ogbene again carries down the right, his cross isn’t really to anyone. But Ireland retain possession and work it back around to Josh Cullen who shoots from distance. A good connection but well over. (41 mins)
Ireland 0 Greece 1 (37′) Ferguson is sloppy in the middle of the park and loses it with Irish runners either side of him. Greece then counter and force another good save from Bazunu. The Irish goalkeeper fumbles the subsequent corner but it’s cleared. Ireland’s decision making at the crucial moments is constantly letting them down.
Jason Knight intercepts a sloppy pass out of defence by the visitors but his first touch is heavy and Greece end up creating the scoring chance on the counter .... but Gavin Bazunu is alert.
Ireland 0 Greece 1 (30′) More excellent work by Ogbene. He’s causing Tsimikas all sorts of bother although the Liverpool left back is causing problems for Ireland going the other way. Ogbene wins a corner but it’s defended well. From the next play the Luton forward wins the ball back for Ireland and Matt Doherty makes a poor decision with Ogbene to his right and Ferguson calling for it to his left. He passes it out of play.
Ireland really struggling to play the ball out from the back. They look completely out of ideas and end up losing possession in the full back areas nearly every time. Once they actually make it into the Greek half, Ireland look dangerous. 26 minutes gone.
Ogbene runs at Tsimikas and he’s taken down. Nothing comes of the free-kick but from the following attack Smallbone plays a one-two and from outside of the box shoots left footed but it’s off target.
Ireland 0 Greece 1 (20′) GOAL for Greece. Kostas Tsimikas is tackled by Ogbene but the ball bounces back in front of him. And he then sends in a superb cross which is met by an equally brilliant header from Giorgos Giakoumakis. Classic centre forward goal.
Ireland 0 Greece 0 (14′) Greece enjoying more possession and putting Ireland under pressure as they try to pass out from the back. With four rather than the usual five defenders there’s less options back there for Ireland. A bit more creativity and movement needed.
Good pressure from Alan Browne forces a deflection and corner for Ireland. The first for the hosts. Nathan Collins meets Smallbone’s delivery at the front post but his header is well wide. Smallbone then picks up a yellow card for leading with his elbow when contesting a long ball (9 mins).
Ireland 0 Greece 0 (5′) Brilliant work by Chiedozie Ogbene to square up two defenders down the right wing, and then slip a pass between them into the box. Will Smallbone meets it first time and forces a good save. A minute later Evan Ferguson shoots left footed from outside the box and his brilliant whipped effort hits the post. Still no luck for Stephen Kenny!
Ireland look to be playing a 4-2-3-1 with Scales at left back and Smallbone behind Ferguson. A bit of an erratic start to the game by both sides.
Ireland 0 Greece 0 (1′) Game on, after a failed kick-off routine which the referee wasn’t happy with, at the second time of asking Ireland get the action started. Their pre-rehearsed routine doesn’t come off and they lose the ball straight away.
The teams are out on the field and the anthems are about to start ... just over five minutes until we get underway!
Stephen Kenny talking to RTE prior to kick-off in 20 minutes: “It’s a hugely important game for us and we have got to bring the level of intensity that we brought against the Netherlands. We couldn’t sustain that for 90 minutes but we are fresh today coming in and we have some attacking players back available. We will have to be at our best and we have to earn it.”
Dominic Foley is one of the few Irish internationals to have experienced Greek football, the former Watford striker made seven appearances in the Greek topflight. He talked to Gordon Manning about his time in Greece and his thoughts on tonight’s match ...
Greece manager Gus Poyet gave Keith Andrews both barrels in his press conference this week, accusing the Republic of Ireland assistant coach of making a “cheap accusation” ...
It was sad. I was very disappointed. I don’t know Keith. From outside I seen him talking on [Sky Sports] and the way he played football I felt he was an intelligent man but he made a mistake, a big mistake, because he is lying.— Gus Poyet
The pre-match thoughts of Stephen Kenny including the selection of Liam Scales
“Nobody has given him anything” ...
The starting formation remains uncertain, but Ireland look to be going with a back four with Liam Scales making his international debut at left back. But it could be anything from a 5-4-1, to 5-3-2, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. The starting Irish team also includes Will Smallbone, with Evan Ferguson leading the line ...
Stephen Kenny did mention that McClean has dropped to the fourth tier of English football with Wrexham but to cut him loose a few hours after the FAI announce his planned retirement from international football in November? Very odd.— Kevin Kilbane
In his column this week former Irish international Kevin Kilbane believes poor results demanded a shake-up for this international window ...
While a top two finish in the group – Ireland would also need to beat the Netherlands in Amsterdam among other results going their way – seems unlikely, Stephen Kenny’s team can also secure a playoff based on Nations League ranking. Ireland’s results in the remaining qualifiers won’t impact on those chances, however they will be relying on the likes of Wales and Israel to finish in the top two in their group to free-up the playoff places.
Nathan John explains in more detail in his All You Need to Know Guide below ...
And all the Group B results/fixtures
Tonight’s Group B fixtures and table
Republic of Ireland vs Greece; Netherlands vs France
“The stage is set for Kenny to mould this side around Evan Ferguson. That suggests Chiedozie Ogbene will bring his impressive Premier League form for Luton to the Aviva, where he was exceptional on the right against France last March, and Mikey Johnston could make his first start on the left.”
Hello and welcome ... Ireland host Greece tonight hoping for the first of three wins from their remaining Euro 2024 qualifiers as they look to keep alive their chances of a second place finish in Group B.
So far they have one win against Gibraltar to go with two defeats against France and one at home to the Netherlands – albeit after competitive displays – and an away defeat to Gus Poyet’s Greece team. Which was the low point of the campaign so far. Tonight, while chances of qualification remain very slim, there is at least the chance for redemption.
We’ll be providing build-up and updates throughout. Keep in touch via the comments section or on Twitter (@DonoghueEamon) but for now, let’s get started!