herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

John Giles: Let's forget about fate and take on Germany

Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill
Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill

IT hardly needs to be said that Ireland must have a right go at Germany in the Aviva Stadium tomorrow.

Trusting to fate and hoping that Scotland fall on their face at Hampden Park against Poland is not the way forward even if it may well come to pass.

For what it's worth, I can see a draw in that game which would mean Ireland would have to match that result either against the Germans or in Warsaw on Sunday.

Of course I have the luxury of prediction without responsibility and Martin O'Neill is in a different place. He must imagine the worst, that Scotland beat Poland and plan for Germany with that in mind.

That means Ireland would have to find four points from two games and one from the Germans might be precious indeed.

Remember

I was glad to see both Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane talk in those terms during the week.

Sure, we remember what happened the last time Germany came to Dublin and nobody wants to experience that again.

But that was another game in another year and there is, after all, a great prize on offer if you want to view the final two games in this campaign through a glass more than half full. Automatic qualification.

Aim high and be brave about the attempt and it might be enough.

Keane spoke about bravery yesterday and he's right. Players must be confident enough to take a chance if they see an opportunity. Germany may be the world champions but the team that runs out at the Aviva is not the same one that won in South Africa - by an stretch of the imagination.

Key men have gone and others have grown old. They can no longer call on Philippe Lahm or Miroslav Klose and from what I've seen of Bastian Schewinstieger for Manchester United so far this season, he is way off his best.

I'm not saying they are not formidable; just saying that are human beings and as we know from Gelsenskirchen, they have weaknesses.

I would also like to see bravery from O'Neill although events may overtake us on that.

Wes Hoolahan is dealing with a bruised heel and he is the player I most want to see the manager trust. He is good enough to unlock any defence and he is in great form in the Premier League, although not playing every game. Ireland need him fit and we need him in a central role.

Of course Ireland will have to soak up pressure. You can expect nothing less against a side of such ability. But the team will need time to breath and Hoolahan can give them that.

I still have my fingers crossed on Seamus Coleman and it would be a huge boost for everyone if he turned up on the night ready to play.

Small things like that can change the way a group of players thinks and Coleman is the one player Ireland can boast about as world class.

The one positive piece of news emerging from the camp is that Hoolahan, Coleman and indeed Marc Wilson will all be available for Poland in Warsaw and James McClean and Glenn Whelan will also be back.

It is vital that O'Neill has all his resources at hand if he has to get a result in Poland.

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