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Dublin: 3 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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Player ratings: here's how we scored the Boys in Green tonight

It wasn’t pretty or easy, but we’ve marked the boys’ performances on a disappointing night in Gdansk.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Shay Given 4 Serious questions to be asked of his fitness after a frustratingly inconsistent performance. Made important saves from Iniesta and Xavi either side of half-time but could’ve done better for Torres’s opener and at clear fault with an aimless punch for Silva’s goal.

John O’Shea 5 Spared to an extent by Spain’s insistence on targeting the left side of the Irish defence. A few attacking ventures early in the first half. Caught out of position for Spain’s second, leaving Iniesta in acres of space to collect the ball and cross.

Sean St Ledger 4 Completely lost track of Silva coming off his shoulder in the build-up to the opening goal. Caught in possession on the half-way line for the third, though might well ask questions of Aiden McGeady’s effort in that instance.

Richard Dunne 4 His early tackle on Silva deserved better than to end in Spain’s opening goal. Twice provided the aerial threat from Irish free-kicks in the opening quarter. Needlessly gave away possession early in the second half, giving Spain the platform for Silva’s goal.

Stephen Ward 3 Another torrid night at left-full. Caught on his heels by Torres for the first and was continually targeted after that with Spain using Arbeloa as a very effective out-ball. Did cover all the way across to right-full to make one excellent tackle mid-way through the second half but nowhere near enough to mask his weakness.

Aiden McGeady 3 Will be the target for much of the venting after this performance. Poor touches, poor positional sense. Looked completely disinterested for vast majority of the game, summed up when he made a half-hearted attempt to retrieve loose ball in the build-up to Torres’s second and then made no effort to chase back.

Glenn Whelan 4 Was always going to struggle to get any sort of a foothold against Spanish midfield and spent most of the game chasing shadows as he tried to close. Took a booking for the team to stop Silva in first-half stoppage time. Wasted one of Ireland’s rare second-half frees by skewing it away from the danger area. Subbed for Green, 80′.

Keith Andrews 6 The hardest working player in green, though he was responsible for his fair share of mistakes as well. Looked to set the tone with a full-blooded challenge on Busquets early on and tried to push forward when allowed. Found himself in a great position inside the Spanish box at 2-0 but squared the ball rather than shoot with his left.

Damien Duff 5 Like most of his team-mates, was called to do most of his work in defence rather than attack. Subbed for McClean, 76′.

Simon Cox 5 A tactical gamble by Trapattoni and he started brightly to vindicate his selection. Won an early free in his first aerial battle with Arbeloa and stung Casillas’s palms with a low drive soon after. Subbed for Walters, 45′.

Robbie Keane 4 Anonymous for practically the entire match. Starved of opportunities to contest the ball, never mind possession. Lost the ball too easily in first-half stoppage time which nearly created a Spanish chance. Had Ireland’s best shot on target late on.

Substitutes

Walters (for Cox, 45′) 5 Put himself about when he came on but the game was out of Ireland’s reach within four minutes of his introduction. Won a few flick-ons from deep and gave Ramos a nervy moment or two in the air.

McClean (for Duff, 76′) & Green (for Whelan, 80′) Weren’t on long enough to rate.

Manager

Giovanni Trapattoni 4 Always going to be a tough night tactically and subbing Cox at half-time was an admission that he got it wrong. Bringing on McClean with 15 minutes remaining felt like a token gesture.

Fans

10/10 A different class, as per usual, and deserved at least one goal to cheer on a miserable night in Gdansk. Sang loud and proud until the end of the game with a defiant “Fields of Athenry” drowning out the Spanish celebrations at the final whistle.

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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