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The World Cup venue where no one cares; Kildare show home advantage matters

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

So, after a crazy day of World Cup action Germany bowed out at the opening stage of the competition for the first time since 1938 yesterday when they were beaten 2-0 by South Korea. The Germans looked a shadow of the team that lifted the trophy in 2014 throughout the tournament and become the third consecutive holders to leave at the group stage phase. From Kazan, Emmet Malone writes that they leave under a cloud of uncertainty with the future of manager Joachim Löw at the certain of it.

Meanwhile, Brazil had no such issues as they swatted aside Serbia to advance to the last 16. From Moscow Ken Early writes that it's the 'Brazilian Way' or their version of cute hoorism that makes them so difficult to beat and also so frsutrating to play with Neymar embodying it more than anyone. Over in Kaliningrad, England take on Belgium this evening in their final Group G match to decide who will come first and second and, by extension, who could face a significnatly easier route through the competition. Reporting from the Russian enclave near Gdansk in Poland is Keith Duggan who writes that, out of all of the host venues, this one is certainly the most peculiar as no one really seems to care.

On to GAA and Eamon Donoghue writes in his statistics column that Peter Duggan has transformed this Clare team and could well lead them to a Munster title on Sunday. "On first impressions the powerfully built attacker can appear leggy and casual, but he is explosive over short distances, relishes the physical exchanges and has excellent vision and bravery allowing him to drop deep, contest and lay the ball off in the tackle," he writes.

Meanwhile, with the venue debacle eventually sorted, Mayo will have three times more fans than Kildare in Newbridge on Saturday due to their large number of season ticket holders and the fact that the capacity of the ground will be limited to 8,200. In his column this morning Ciarán Murphy writes that Kildare have shown why home advantage is worth fighting for. "They now their fan base riled up, and they have a cause. Whether that, and the febrile atmosphere that is now guaranteed in Newbridge on Saturday night, is enough to get them over the line, I sincerely doubt," he writes.


On to our women in sport pages where Sonia O'Sullivan is writing about recovering from injury and how learning to ride an elliptical bike has helped her. "After a few sessions you really do feel a difference. On the bike, for example, you just feel a bit more power coming from the core, and also feel more efficient climbing hills while still seated, it just feels that there is less effort than before," she writes.

Also today we have paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane talking to Johnny Watterson about how she learned to love her "lucky fin" while Joanne O'Riordan writes about how Cork ladies rose above the drama like true champions.

Ruaidhrí Croke

Ruaidhrí Croke

Ruaidhrí Croke is a sports journalist with The Irish Times