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Crucial Euro 2008 Qualifiers…..Group D

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 The Republic of Ireland have been keeping a reasonably low-profile ahead of their vital double-header against Slovakia and the Czech Republic this week. While manager Steve Staunton has been heavily criticised by the Irish media so far, things are beginning to click for his team, and the impressive 4-0 win over Denmark in last month’s friendly has increased optimism that Ireland can take the necessary points in these games to give themselves a shot at qualifying.

While Germany are well out in front, and have a huge goal difference thanks to their 13-0 demolition of San Marino, Ireland are very much in the mix for second spot, and can take heart from the fact that they should have beaten the Czechs in Lansdowne Road back at the start of qualifying, instead they had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Furthermore a 1-0 win over Slovakia in March exposed the Eastern Europeans as a team that Ireland are well capable of beating. Confidence will go a long way, and the Czechs will go into the match in confident form as they face San Marino on the Saturday. If Ireland beat Slovakia, it will essentially become a straight fight for second with the Czechs and it makes Wednesday’s encounter all the more intriguing.            

Staunton:  We have to change the mindset of the whole country. We’ve never done well against big teams away from home but, in saying that, we have accepted that draws have been great results. They are – but only if you qualify. At the end of the day, I want us to have a winning mentality. I think the lads proved in Denmark that there is a belief within the squad and that will grow with each game and get-together

08/09/2007 20:30 San Marino Czech Republic
08/09/2007  20:30  Wales Germany
08/09/2007  20:30  Slovakia   Rep of Ireland    
12/09/2007  20:45  Slovakia   Wales 
12/09/2007  20:45  Cyprus San Marino    
12/09/2007  20:45  Czech Republic   Rep of Ireland  

                                         Pld         Pts

  • Germany                   7           19   
  • Czech Republic         7            14
  • Rep of Ireland            7            13
  • Slovakia                    7             9 
  • Wales                       6             7
  • Cyprus                      7             7
  • San Marino                7             0
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