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Georgia boss Weiss: 'Ireland play football like Michael Flatley dances'

Mick McCarthy’s side were paid a strange compliment ahead of tomorrow’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Tbilisi.

Vladimir Weiss.
Vladimir Weiss.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE OPPOSITION MANAGER’s press conference ahead of an international game is usually a pretty run-of-the-mill gig, in which the Irish press ask said manager what he thinks of us, to which he usually responds by saying something about our “fighting spirit” along with chucking in a compliment about the Irish fans. 

Perhaps eager to invigorate the jaded genre of pre-Ireland/Georgia press-conferences, Vladimir Weiss strayed from the script when asked to describe the differences between Mick McCarthy’s and Martin O’Neill’s. 

“Ireland play football, if I can say, like Michael Flatley dances” said Weiss, briefly wiggling his arms like an awkward Irish teenager dancing at a rural disco. 

He praised Ireland’s passion and quality but then said that Georgia had “good dancers” too, and that tomorrow would see who had the best. 

He mentioned how he admires Ireland’s “phenomenal energy”, which he evidently sees in the frenzy of a Riverdance performance.

(Conceiving Irish international matches as a kind of careful, balletic dance-off would be a theme too far for even this press conference.) 

That’s not to say that Weiss is ignorant of Ireland’s other, more rudimentary threats. He brought up Shane Duffy’s inclusion in the Irish squad unprompted at the beginning of the press conference, saying that Duffy’s inclusion is “good news for Ireland and bad news for us.

“He is a very important player for the Irish team. We wish him good health but we hope he doesn’t score.”

Duffy, of course, scored Ireland’s early goal when these sides last met in Tbilisi, which ended in a 1-1 draw that put Ireland’s campaign on the rocks and consigned them to the play-off with Denmark. 

Georgia are effectively out of contention to qualify from Group D, although the byzantine backdoor that is the Nations League has guaranteed them a reprieve. They finished at the top of their Group in League D, and so are guaranteed a Euro 2020 play-off next March. 

The need to prepare for that game has freighted tomorrow’s game with more significance for Georgia, along with a shot at their own piece of history – they’ve never beaten Ireland before. 

Although last month’s scoreless draw at home to Denmark was a terrific achievement, Weiss is calling for further improvement, particularly up front. 

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“We must play like we did against Denmark, but we need more quality in the attacking area, we hope we will score first, and for the first time in history I hope we can beat Ireland. 

“But we must play at 120%, to play at 100% is not enough.”


Originally published at 14.17 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / reports from Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi

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