I haven’t blogged since the Ireland-Spain game partly because I have been following Virginia Woolf’s dictum that one shouldn’t write when one is angry and partly because I’ve been laid lowish with a slight bout of summer flu. To be honest, I wouldn’t have much to add to what I wrote the morning of the Spain match. It was all too predictable, even as some of us held out hope that we could pull something out of the fire before we went out on a high.
There’s been no escaping the fact it has been a disastrous tournament for the Irish, and despite the mournful defiance of the singing at the end on Thursday night, the results have had an effect on the fans’ morale. The mood on the streets and in the campsites is a lot more subdued now though that has much to do with fatigue after almost two weeks on the road.
Ireland can salvage some pride by beating Italy tonight but it’s hard to see how César Prandelli’s side, bent on attacking and needing a win, will fail to do the job. For all its faults this Italian team is not as brittle as Donadoni’s four years ago or Lippi’s hapless one in South Africa. When Trapattoni is now shifting the blame to the players for not showing leadership in the first two matches, you sense he’s not working too hard at outwitting Prandelli this evening. My predictions for the tournament so far have not been entirely successful, and I have probably shown far too much faith in Ireland prior to their first two matches. I’m afraid that faith has deserted me today, and I expect Italy to beat us 2-0, even if that may not in itself be enough to send them through.
Posted by Oliver Farry