Distressing stuff from Lansdowne Road last night, where Ireland went down to their heaviest defeat in twenty-one years, 4-0 against Holland, a team we are usually quite comfortable playing. The last defeat this bad was against the great Danish team of Elkjaer, Michael Laudrup, Morten Olsen and Sivebaek in 1985. I did not get to see any of the action last night but I believe that it could have been even more, but there is a strong case for seeing this as an abberrant result. Ireland were severely depleted, missing practically all their key players, including Shay Given, who possibly might have reduced the score by two or three. It does however highlight two worrying problems, one being a general lack of organisation in the Staunton set-up, and secondly the fact that Ireland are only five or six injuries away from being a very weak side. But then again one can say the same thing about England, who beat the European Champions Greece (yes they're still the European Champions) 4-0 in Steve McLaren's first game in charge. Not a bad start and this should provide the Brits with nourishment for their regular biannual delusion, the fact that they are going to win a major tournament. Betting website, bet365 has already got the ball rolling, naming England, naturally, as favourites for Euro 2008. The World Cup is already a distant memory.
As for Ireland, I still think that with a strengthened side, a draw in Germany is not impossible, but our backs will be to the wall for most of that game.