Austria 1 Rep of Ireland 0: Three lessons as Trapattoni’s men struggle
Austria 1 Rep of Ireland 0: What lessons did we learn as the Men in Green's faint World Cup hopes took a blow in Vienna?
Alaba strikes again
Just as he did towards the end of March, David Alaba once again broke Irish hearts with a late, dramatic goal in their crunch World Cup qualifier. In truth, the Austrians looked the more threatening of the two sides, particularly in the second period as they began to push for a breakthrough. And, although it was a long time coming, it was certainly a fully-deserved goal when it did arrive. Following some tremendous pressure from the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Martin Harnik, who both tested the Irish defence on a few occasions, it looked as though Marcel Koller’s side might become increasingly frustrated by a stubborn Irish defence. However, any side with a skilful individual such as Alaba amongst their ranks always poses a great risk, and although he had been denied by David Forde midway through the first 45 with a powerful left-footed effort from the edge of the area, there was to be no stopping his pile-driver from close range. And none of the other players on the line could do anything about it either, as the Bayern Munich man wheeled away to celebrate what could prove to be a vital goal for his team as they continue to hunt for qualification.
Ireland defend with vigour
Granted, Giovanni Trapattoni will be unhappy with the result, but it will be difficult for him to fault the tenacity and determination of his players at the back. For large periods of the second half, Richard Dunne and company performed ever so well to keep the hosts at bay, and were unlucky to concede so late on, when there was very little time to turn the tie around. On the other hand, the Boys in Green didn’t do themselves any favours with the manner in which they continued to surrender possession up front. On numerous occasions, Shane Long was unable to maintain possession whenever his team-mates did manage to find him with a pass out of defence. Effectively, it was this lack of an outlet that led to Ireland dealing with a barrage of Austrian corners and attacks, and that ultimately led to the goal being scored. However, it would be unfair to lay the blame solely at the feet of the West Bromwich Albion star, as he was merely another victim of the failed Trapattoni system.
Defeat signals the end for Trap
Needless to say, it’s been an incredibly frustrating few days for Irish football. Defeat on Tuesday night, coupled with the loss to Sweden at the Aviva last week, means that Ireland are certainly out of the race for qualification to Brazil 2014. Combine this with the backlash the 74-year-old boss received for his dismissal of the League of Ireland, and it becomes clear that Trapattoni has to go. Of course, fans of football in Ireland may well have to put up with the insufferable excuses of the FAI to not sack him due to financial reasons, however it’s still difficult to see how much sense it makes to keep him at the helm. The Green Army have looked out of ideas, particularly in attack under Trapattoni, and haven’t managed to string together many cohesive displays when it mattered most. In truth, it’s only going to get worse for Ireland over the next few weeks, with a trip to Germany still to come. And with both John O’Shea and Richard Dunne ruled out of that game already due to suspension, it may well be an even more embarrassing night than the 6-1 defeat they suffered at the Aviva in October. Despondency is surely the word.