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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

Germany midfielder Schweinsteiger rolls out clichéd line about Irish 'fighting spirit'

We expected more from you, Schweini.

Schweinsteiger challenges Jon Walters last year.
Schweinsteiger challenges Jon Walters last year.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

GERMANY MIDFIELDER BASTIAN Schweinsteiger has paid tribute to the fighting spirit of the Irish ahead of his side’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Cologne on Friday.

Germany would secure their passage to the finals in Brazil with a victory while Ireland need an unlikely success to stand any chance of progressing.

And although Ireland are almost certain to miss out on the Brazil showpiece — even two wins from the final two matches would give them very little chance of making it into the play-offs for the top eight second placed finishers from the nine groups — Schweinsteiger is expecting them to put up a typically robust showing.

“It won’t be easy, the Irish fight non-stop for their country,” said the Bayern Munich holding midfielder.

They’re maybe not as good as Argentina or Spain in a footballing sense, but they have an enormous heart and always give their all.”

Recent history would suggest this match is little more than a formality, though, as Germany romped to a 6-1 thrashing of their hosts in Dublin in October 2012.

They have in fact only dropped two points in qualifying so far, when a late collapse saw them blow a 4-0 lead at home to Sweden in Berlin four days later.

Germany need only beat Ireland or draw at home to Sweden in their final game to ensure top spot in the group.

For Ireland to snatch second place they would need Sweden to lose to Germany and Austria, and for Austria to lose to Faroe Islands, while beating Germany and Kazakhstan themselves.

Yet even with such an unlikely scenario, that still might not be enough to prevent them from finishing as the ninth best second-placed team.

© AFP 2013

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