Captain: Robbie Keane
Star Player: Robbie Keane
Bio: Ireland are the only team in the Euro who haven't included a single player in their own league. Thats my interesting fact. Its been 24 years since Ireland have competed in the European Championships so they are going to party hard this year. Ireland haven't been to a international tournament since the 2002 world cup where they got to the round of 16 before being knocked out by Spain on pens.
This Ireland team is good but not great. With players like Keane, McGeady, Dunne and Given they have some good players. The only problem with them is they are all passed their prime years. Keane is 31 and playing in LA, i think he may rethink that decision after the Euro as he showed for Villa this season during a Loan spell that he has a lot to offer a Premier League club. Given is 36 but is still blooming good. I think he is one of the best in the world still and 26 isnt that bad for a goalkeeper. Dunne is 32 but looks about 40. I dont think he has long left. He hasnt had the best of seasons at Villa but nobody at Villa had a good season. McGeady is only 26 but with a record of 49 games 2 goals he has disappointed at international level. its a record that Heskey would be ashamed of.
Watch out for James McClean. The 23 year old Sunderland winger has been a star for them this season. O'Neil has been really impressed by him and gave him a chance. He was brilliant but will he play. Well i wouldnt expect him to start as i think they will go McGeady and Duff on the wings and McClean coming off the bench. Its a shame that none of these 3 play centre mid because they lack Centre mid talent. Gibson, Andrews, Whelan and Paul Green will fight it out to play centre mid and there is not a lot of difference between them.
at 73 years old they have the oldest coach in Trapattoni but he brings with him a wealth of experience at both club level and international level. I think this will be a real benefit to Ireland.
The Group Ireland are in they can finish anywhere from 2nd to 4th. I dont think they have enough to beat Spain but certainly can beat Italy and the game against Croatia in game 1 will be vital. Unlike Croatia I dont see Ireland getting passed the Quarter finals. In truth i think Ireland will finish last in this Group. I think they can beat Italy at the moment but i dont think they will. I would love to see Ireland do well because they are always good entertainment in Tournaments like this.