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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 20 April 2021


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Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off for the game is at 8pm.

Confirmation of tonight’s teams…

An interesting line from Martin O’Neill speaking to Tony O’Donoghue. He says Declan Rice has “yet to decide what his best position is,” and adds his club will “probably make that decision for him”.

In other news, the kick-off will be delayed until 20.08, owing to planned tributes to France legend Henri Michel, who died last month at the age of 70.

We’re under way…


Ireland are playing their customary 4-5-1 formation.

Shane Long is the lone frontman, with Jon Walters on the right-hand side.


Chance for France early on.

McClean is dispossessed in midfield by Sidibé, who plays it to Mbappe, and the young PSG attacker curls a shot just wide from the edge of the area.


As expected, France are dominating possession and doing pretty much all of the attacking early on.

Ireland are working hard and are happy to sit back and invite the French on.


Ireland try to play out from the back. Doyle passes to Coleman, but the Everton full back is immediately closed down.

He then passes it to Duffy, who lumps it forward aimlessly.

Moments later, there are claims of handball in the box against Kevin Long, but it looked more like ball-to-hand based on the replay.


Derrick Williams bursts forward with great enthusiasm.

However, the Blackburn man’s delivery is poor, as his attempted cross sails over the goal and out of play.


Just under 20 minutes in and at times, it feels like an attack-v-defence training session.

Though the personnel may be different, the Ireland performance thus far leaves a distinct feeling of deja vu.


McClean gets booked for a rash challenge on Matuidi on the edge of the box.

This is a decent chance now for France.


Fekir — who has been linked with Liverpool and Chelsea of late — curls a free kick just wide.

It’s not been pretty viewing from an Irish perspective so far, but then that’s hardly unexpected.


McClean wins the ball off Tolisso, but his cross is straight into the arms of Mandanda.

Moments later, Mendy shoots from distance and Doyle is forced to parry the ball away to safety.


Ireland are being forced to work extremely hard off the ball, with France increasing the tempo in recent minutes.

Even attacking players like Long and Walters have been doing defensive work deep in their own half.


Mbappe evades the challenge of Williams. Doyle is forced to parry the youngster’s subsequent shot out for a corner.

Moments later, there’s another half chance, as Giroud heads Mendy’s cross wide.


Ireland briefly have a chance to counter, but O’Dowda overruns it.

France then break, but Williams makes a good challenge to stop the attack.


That’s the closest France have come yet!

Sidibe beats Williams before playing it to Tolisso, whose first-time shot from the edge of the area hits the outside of the post.


That’s been coming!

A corner is played in and Giroud beats Duffy in the air.

His initial header is stopped on the line, but he eventually stabs home the rebound.


2-0 to France in what Jim Beglin describes as “a Karius moment” for Colin Doyle.

Fekir shoots from the edge of the area, and Doyle can only help the ball on its way into the net.


According to RTÉ, France have had 83% possession in that first half.


Ireland have been a bit more positive at the start of this second half.

They’re trying to pass the ball a bit more.


Doyle makes a good save after a powerful Giroud strike from the edge of the area.

Ireland need to be careful they don’t leave themselves too open as they chase the game.


Mbappe nutmegs McClean before Fekir shoots well wide from the edge of the area.

France are playing with great confidence at the moment.


Sidibe crosses and Browne makes a mess of the clear, flicking it over his own goal.

France continue to dominate.


McClean bursts forward, but it’s only Long in the box. The West Brom winger’s cross can’t find him.

Ireland have subsequently made a double change — Arter and Meyler are on for Browne and Walters.


France have made a triple substitution.

Nabil Fekir, Benjamin Moody and Samuel Umtiti are replaced by Presnel Kimpembe, Moises Gomez and Antoine Griezmann.


Another decent chance for France.

Mbappe crosses for Giroud, who miscontrols the ball inside the box.


Arter gets booked for a late change.

Meanwhile, O’Dowda and Long are replaced Judge and Burke, who makes his international debut.

Burke is the first League of Ireland player to represent the Boys in Green since Joe Gamble in 2007.

The Shamrock Rovers star will play from the left, with James McClean going up top.


There’s a Mexican wave going round the stadium.

This game certainly has a carnival feel from a France perspective.


France make two more changes.

Tolisso and Mbappe are off, with Pogba and Dembele replacing them.


Pogba curls a shot just wide from the edge of the area.

Meanwhile, Ireland make another change — Kevin Long is replaced by Shaun Williams, who is making his international debut.

That means Declan Rice will probably revert to centre-back.


Ireland make another change.

Matt Doherty replaces Derrick Williams.

France also make a switch — Pavard comes on for Sidibe.


Graham Burke replaces Callum O’Dowda to make his full international debut Ireland’s Graham Burke replaces Callum O’Dowda to make his international debut. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Right, that’s all from me. Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here.

We’ll have more reaction to follow.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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