Agony. The most horrible thing I’ve seen on TV since that time I accidentally switched over to EastEnders.
Nothing about it was good. From the early goal to the last minute, it was sheer torture.
Spain are undeniably brilliant and we all knew what to expect - but it was still hard to watch.
Five things we learned1) We failed to panic. As odd as that may sound, there were far too many times when we tried
to play our way out of trouble. Our defenders should have defended in the dumbest way more often, by
simply clearing their lines as quick as possible. Too much confidence on the ball at the back ultimately cost us.
2) Aiden McGeady was the wrong choice. A talented footballer, but too indecisive. On the rare opportunities we got to attack, his dithering on the ball cost us in my opinion. It would have been much better to have gone with the direct, down-the-line approach of James McClean. The roar from the crowd when the Sunderland man came on spoke volumes.
3) Simon Cox is a worthy starting option Not a player many would automatically select for their first XI, but
he battled hard and held the ball up well. His early effort was one of the few highlights we had to cling on to. In the imminent post-Robbie Keane era, he could become an important player for Ireland.
4) We were number 16 in the tournament. There is no denying that we deserved to be there, but at the same time we just weren’t good enough. Expanding the tournament to 24 teams in 2016 will weaken the
competition and lower the level of quality. Regardless, I hope we are there again in four years time - as long as we avoid Spain and let someone else experience what we have had to endure!
5) Torres forget he was supposed to be rubbish. Everyone thought he yesterday’s man, but he was fleet-footed, his movement was clever and his finishing was thunderous. If he stays fully fit, he will be a 20+ goals man for Chelsea next season.
Man of the matchWe were spun relentlessly from one side of the pitch to the other, over and over and over again.
The slide passes played behind our back line by Xavi, Iniesta and Silva were sublime and to be perfectly honest, they could have scored another four or five. Thanks to Shay Given, they didn’t. Some of the saves he made were world-class.
Reaction back homeSometimes, it is heartbreaking to have to face up to reality. We worked hard to qualify, but ultimately we were found out when it really mattered. Players like Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Shay Given have been the heartbeat of the team for more than a decade so they will depart the international scenes as heroes to us all, but now is the time for change.
I would like Marco Tardelli to replace Trapattoni and continue the good work that the duo have begun.
So now, the only thing to do is enjoy the last game and start looking forward to Brazil in two years time!