Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named his 23 man squad for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Germany (12th October) and Faroe Islands (16th October).
The Germans have a young and emerging squad, which are widely acknowledged as being one of the best in the world. There are many critics saying that the Germans have the perfect balance of youth and experience to mount a serious threat at the World Cup which kicks off in 21 months time.
The Germans have reached at least the semi-finals of every major tournament they have played since 2006 and were very disappointed to have been pipped 2-1 by Italy at this summer’s European Championships. In Mario Götze, Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski, the Germans have some of the very best attacking talent in world football.
The Germans have as ever gotten off to an efficient start to their World Cup qualification campaign, recording two wins from two starts and boasting a healthy goal difference of +4 having comfortable overcome the Faroes 3-0 and earning a valuable 2-1 victory over Austria in a hostile Vienna atmosphere.
The Faroes meanwhile have played just once in this qualification campaign, that the 3-0 defeat to the Germans and they would under normal circumstances be expected to be no match for an Irish side ranked some 116 places higher in the FIFA rankings. These are not normal circumstances however, as the Republic’s opening game in these qualifiers illustrated. The fact that the Republic eked out a last gasp 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in Astana should not paper over the cracks of what was a truly abysmal performance.
Trapattoni has not named Richard Dunne in his 23 man squad (three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders, five strikers) as the Aston Villa man is still struggling with an injury. Whether Ireland can nick a point (or dare I suggest three?) will largely depend on the experience and presence of Dunne. Villa manager Paul Lambert has however said that the 33 year-old will not start this weekend against Spurs meaning that the centre half’s first match since suffering a groin injury at Euro 2012, could be the showdown with Die Maanschaft.
Robbie Brady has, along with Richard Dunne been named on the standby list.
Keith Andrews returns to the squad having been banned for the game in Kazakhstan following his red card against Italy at Euro 2012. The Bolton man will most likely battle it out with Wigan’s James McCarthy for the starting berth in central midfield against the Germans.
Keith Fahey also returns to the squad having missed Euro 2012 and the start of this season through injury.
Republic of Ireland Squad: Keiren Westwood, David Forde, Darren Randolph; Stephen Ward, Stephen Kelly, Marc Wilson, John O’Shea, Seán St. Ledger, Paul McShane, Darren O’Dea; Séamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady, Keith Fahey, Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, Keith Andrews, Andy Keogh, James McClean; Simon Cox, Robbie Keane, Shane Long, Kevin Doyle, Jonathan Walters.