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Republic of Ireland World Cup Qualifying Preview 2010

Jul 2, 2008
The Irish will have to contend with the world champions, Italy in their group when they embark on their World Cup qualification adventure starting on September 6th, 2008.

As with all of the other Celtic home nations, the Republic of Ireland find themselves placed in a very difficult group 8 of this European section of World Cup qualification to South Africa 2010. The other teams in the group are Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Montenegro and Georgia.

Ireland have a new a coach, Giovanni Trapattoni and the 68 year old is confident that the challenge of qualification can be met by his young players and also he is very appreciative of the Irish support which makes such a big difference, especially when playing at home, Croke Park.

Italy will of course be favourites to win the group outright. Despite being dumped out of the recent Euro 2008 competition by Spain in an uneventful quarter final the Italians are always well organised, have a ruthless defence and contain some highly influential players such as AC Milans Andrea Pirlo who has been performing at the top level for a number of years.

The Bulgarians are always a team full of technically accomplished players that seem to struggle to qualify for major tournaments, but when they do, always seem to impress the neutral sports fan. Dimitar Berbatov, the Tottenham Hotspur striker will be the player to watch and the Republic of Ireland will have to man mark him closely if they are to overcome the Bulgarians, both home and away.

That leaves Cyprus, Georgia and Montenegro. The weakest being Cyprus who will do well if they can pick up the odd point at home and away. Georgia have been slowly improving over the last few years and will take confidence out of their recent win over Scotland and an excellent draw away at the Ukraine in recent Euro 2008 matches.

Montenegro is a young football nation. They recently joined UEFA and FIFA (2007) having previously been half of the former Yugoslavia national team. The challenge for this team is to develop players of international class and to gain more victories on a consistent basis.

The winner of this group will qualify automatically for the World Cup 2010. The runner up will have to endure a play-off match against another second placed team from another group. Many football experts are predicting a close group 8 and it will be interesting to see what players emerge and perform well.

Irish fans will be wondering if they can string decent performances together at home and then pick up away draws. This would give them a tremendous chance of qualification. Players to watch out for this season for Ireland are Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle who are forming a good partnership up front.

It will be up to coach Giovanni Trapattoni to decide on the teams formation and in particular the option of playing just one lone striker or go for a more attacking option of two forwards and four midfield players.
About the Author
Martin is a sports writer and football fan who watches Ireland on Setanta tv and subscribes to his favourite satellite tv sports broadcaster, Setanta.
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