Ireland's hopes of making it to next summer's World Cup Finals in Germany were dealt a blow tonight as they let a 2 goal first half lead slip to allow Israel to snatch an undeserved 2-2 draw at Lansdowne Road tonight. This result means Ireland lie third in the table with many tricky fixtures ahead. Their chances of topping the group and securing automatic qualification seems problematic at best.
While I couldn't fault the Irish players for effort in the second half, I do feel that they resorted to desperate tactics against an inferior opposition too early on. As the RTE analysers put it "They tried to hammer the door down when they should have been looking for the key." Yes Gary Doherty was effective in ways but Andy Reid is a class act plying his trade very successfully in a decent Tottenham team. Reid was playing well, had supplied a brilliant second goal and I feel it was a mistake to take him off. That said, Ireland have good reason to feel angry about some of the antics of the Israeli team and to be honest the nicest term I have to describe their goalkeeper is cheat. If that sounds like sour grapes on my part then you obviously didn't watch the match!
Still I suppose at least they didn't lose and the dream is still alive. At least 10 points are required from the final 4 matches though.
PS - I was glad to see that the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campiagn received good media coverage for their protest. I was also glad that they left the protest outside the confines of the ground as I feel that any disrubtion to the match itself would have had an a negative impact on their very worthy campaign.