It’s going to go right down to the wire now. We’ve drawn France home and away in the World Cup play offs.
Ireland will meet the French in Dublin on November 14 and in Paris on November 18 with a place in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa up for grabs.
One of the consolations we can take from today’s draw is that French coach Raymond Domenech is stark, raving mad and capable of anything. He’s straight out of central casting for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as loony as an, er, bag of frogs.
Meanwhile, no sooner was today’s draw made than Paddy Power expressed complete confidence in our chances of qualifying by shoving us out to 11/5.
They’ve priced Les Frogs at 1/3 on – such patriotism.
Speaking after the draw in Zurich Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni meant to say: Fuck !
It beats Argentina manager Diego Maradona’s reaction to last week’s 1-0 win over U-are-gay – a result that booked his team’s ticket for South Africa. Maradona invited the assembled media to wrap their laughing gear around his dick after that result. Charming.
Ireland were hoping to draw Greece or Portugal. Everyone was trying to avoid Russia, mainly because no one wants to go to Moscow in winter looking for a result — just ask Napoleon and Hitler.
The Russians also play on an artificial pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Today’s draw was manipulated by FIFA. Two weeks ago they announced that they were introducing a seeding format for the draw as opposed to the open draw which was the original proposal. That decision was condemned from pillar to post.
However, FIFA couldn’t give a rattling fuck. Soccer’s governing body are more or less running a dictatorship in Zurich. They do what they like and don’t answer to anyone.
Ireland and France last met in the World Cup qualifiers in 2006. The sides drew 0-0 in Paris – where John O’Shea missed a sitter – but a bolt from le bleu courtesy of Thierry Henry earned France a 1-0 win in Dublin, a result which more or less qualified the French for the World Cup finals in Germany where they lost to Italy in the final.
I reckon Ireland have a great chance of beating the French. After all, if the Frogs are as good as everyone is now saying they are, then how come they didn’t top their group and qualify outright?
However, it’s imperative that we keep Les Bastards scoreless before the return leg in Paris. The away goal rules apply. It’s all to play for.