THE NEXT WEEK arguably represents the most crucial period of Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign as Ireland manager, with the two upcoming group games set to make or break Ireland’s Euro 2012 campaign.
Trapattoni’s side are currently joint top of Group B and are level on 13 points with Russia and Slovakia.
Six points from their games against Russia and Slovakia would – with respect to future opponents Armenia and Andorra – go a long way towards ensuring Ireland’s automatic qualification from the group.
On the other hand, losses to two these sides would be catastrophic, resulting in a test that all but the most optimistic Irish fan would tip us to fail.
Equally, while two draws would not be the end of the world, it would hamper rather than enhance our chances (of automatic qualification at least), given that Ireland’s head-to-head record is currently the worst of the three teams in the group vying for top stop.
Then again, regardless of what happens in the coming days, it’s worth bearing in mind that the group has produced the odd surprise result, with both Russia and Slovakia having slipped up against Armenia.
With all this in mind, how many points do you think Ireland will acquire from their next two games?