Forde turns focus to Gelsenkirchen after quiet day at the office at Aviva

Unions may not be the powerful lobby group they once were, but the unwritten rules demanding solidarity among the goalkeeping fraternity remain.

David Forde spent Saturday evening trapping the odd back pass, making the odd shouted observation and having to deal with only a minor flurry of activity around his area of operations late in the second half.

His opposite number, Jordan Perez, had a less convivial evening. Ireland’s custodian, though he can’t have had an experience quite like that before, had more than a little sympathy for the man who let in seven.

“Yeah, of course you do. It’s not nice in football when that happens, when you have 40 or 50,000 people in the stadium and you’re getting a bit of stick. But you have those days as a goalkeeper. I’m sure he’ll learn from it. It’s not a nice place to be in.”

The expectation is that Forde will experience a barrage of similar intensity tomorrow evening when Martin O’Neill’s side faces a German team sure to be simmering with anger over the nature of their defeat to Poland at the weekend.

Germany have not been at their world-beating best since their adventures in Brazil, but they have racked up more than enough attempts on goal in their qualifiers against Scotland and the Poles to be in their customary position of superiority.

Should something similar occur in Gelsenkirchen, then Ireland will need Forde to reproduce something akin to the displays he gave in the previous qualifying campaign away to Sweden and, this time last year, the Germans.

Ireland claimed a 0-0 draw in Stockholm but even the Millwall man’s heroics couldn’t prevent a 3-0 loss in Cologne. Either way, he expects to earn his passage again this time.

“Hopefully we can get over there this time and get a result. I’d take a team performance over anything else and get a result.

“We were missing some big players last time. We’re full strength at the moment, bar Seamus (Coleman) and James (McCarthy), which is a big loss. We missed John O’Shea there last time and he’s a big figure for us.”

Germany have been hindered by a number of injuries to key players for this latest international double-header. Ireland, too, may be a very different outfit to the one that met the now world champions 12 months ago.

Forde may actually be one of as few as three or four players who started that night to do so again tomorrow although one of those likely to make way — Kevin Doyle — believes the visitors should not travel devoid of hope.

“We have to try and be organised, have a plan and a structure,” said the man currently plying his trade sporadically with Crystal Palace. They have just won the World Cup so they’re a good team.

“We know that. They beat us in the last campaign but we have a bit more confidence about us now. We play a different system now, mainly with one striker and an extra midfielder behind him.”

Doyle, like so many of these Irish players who play for mid-ranking Premier League clubs or sides scrambling for promotion from the Championship, knows all too well what it is to take to the field as an underdog and he has delivered the odd bite, too.

“These things happen, plenty of times,” he said when it is put to him whether Ireland could do something memorable. I remember playing for Wolves and we ended Manchester United’s record [unbeaten] run by beating them.

“It’s not that we go into games being massively fearful. Everyone realises that upsets happen, we could draw or win the game. You never know. We are well aware of that and it’s not like we have a negative attitude.”


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