The Irish soccer team isn’t the only team in Euro 2016 that has frustrated and failed to live up to the expectations of its supporters.
In the case of Ireland however, the stark reality is that we just don’t have the players. Therefore do we really have any genuine right to be frustrated and surprised?
To my mind the current Euro squad could be arranged and organised into any system by any manager and the story would still ultimately be the same. A great team spirit and pride in the jersey can only get a team so far. We have a few decent players but so what, so do most other teams in the tournament.
Also the fact that the fans are continually being praised for not causing trouble and enjoying the party is just a red herring. How else are normal people expected to behave? Give me a great team over comment on this sideshow any day.
As I write this article we are just to take to the field against Italy. The lead up over the last few days has been dominated by talk that we might have a chance as our opponents might be resting as many as nine players.
If they do and we win, can we really take any genuine pride in that? They are already through no matter what the result.
People may well point to that fact that teams such as Wales and Northern Ireland have advanced with players of a similar or lower calibre to ours. They of course qualified for Euro 2016 without having to go through the qualifiers like us and on arrival, I would argue, had easier groups.
Sweden for example would give both of these a game and are better than Russia and Ukraine whom they faced.
I hope Ireland do the business against Italy, but if they do it’s just papering over the cracks. The players aren’t good enough and it’s not their fault, it’s as simple as that.