Losing 1-0 at Croke Park wasn’t really what Giovanni Trapattoni had in mind for the first leg but the master tactician won’t have given up hope just yet.
One could argue that the Irish deserved a draw but the facts are France got the solitary goal and are now firm favourites to progress to South Africa.
Trapattoni will instill the typically Italian style of trying to nick it 1-0.
If his side get to half-time all square he will be delighted. This is not to say they will play counter-attacking football; they don’t have the players for that. It will be a case of choosing their moments wisely and if they get a chance then they must take it.
Factor in nerves and you we look set for a scrappy encounter, especially early on. The Republic of Ireland have drawn six of their last 10 games and France have also had a lot of tight games recently.
Make no mistake, Giovanni Trapattoni has done a marvelous job with what is an average Republic of Ireland side.
They are fortunate that their three best players play in pivotal roles. Given, Dunne and Keane just about keep this team together and if they are to have any chance on Wednesday all three are going to have to play their part.
France aren’t without their troubles. The midfield is unadventurous and that is partly because the defence is shaky so the need is felt to play protecting players.
Toulalan is still out and he is joined by Abidal who picked up an injury at the weekend. Expect Seville’s Sebastien Squillaci to replace him at centre-back but don’t expect that to make them any stronger in that department.
This will be a fierce encounter and if the Irish can score first we will have a heck of a game on our hands. My main punt on this match will come in the Asian Handicap.
Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. Ã‚Â© The Sporting Exchange Limited
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