RTE’s after-match panel of Eamon Dunphy, Liam Brady and John Giles couldn’t hide their disappointment at the Republic of Ireland’s poor performance in the 3-0 defeat to Belgium, writes Ger McCarthy.
“It is really disappointing for everybody, for the fans and the players. It was a poor performance, we never played,” commented Eamon Dunphy.
Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady discuss the performance of James McCarthy. https://t.co/DitN2GaDtv— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 18, 2016
“You can always depend on (most) Irish players on giving everything they have got but we never played offensively. We didn’t play, didn’t pass the ball at all and didn’t pose any attacking threat.
“So, it was a free hit for them (Belgium). Their morale was on the deck and they didn’t create a real chance in the first half. It was really only a matter of time before they scored though because if you keep giving the ball back to quality opposition then they will eventually punish you.”
Former Irish international and Juventus midfielder Liam Brady concurred with his RTE colleague and believed James McCarthy was at fault for the opening two goals.
“You have to have good decision making when you attack and James McCarthy, I think, let the side down for the first two goals,” Brady said.
“Bad decision making on the first one, he should have held DeBryune up. For the second goal, he lost his man Witsel, just ball watching and he got in behind him. Bad decision making and lack of concentration.
“We were always going to try and get a 0-0. At half time with the way we were playing it looked like our only chance of a goal would come from a set piece. But we ended up in disarray and then they got that third goal walking through us.
“It is really disappointing but to look on the optimistic side, there is a point on the board and still an awful lot to play for in the last game against Italy. It is still a poor, poor performance as Eamonn said.”
John Giles felt that Martin O’Neill’s side didn’t start playing until they fell 2-0 behind but admitted it was always going to be difficult against such quality opposition.
“It think that (John O’Shea interview) is very accurate,” commented Giles.
“The first and second goal that we conceded, in particular, was when Ireland were on the attack before it became a shambles at the end. It is very hard to hang on to a no-score draw and I think we were two goals down before we even tried to string a few passes together.
“So, it was inevitable in the end that we would concede. I must say, Lukaku’s manager must have had a go at him at half time. It was still a brave performance in many ways but it is very difficult to play against a team that has the quality to take advantage when you make mistakes. It is very difficult to hold out for 90 minutes doing what we (Ireland) were doing.”