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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 19 September 2020

'We'll go there on the front foot and this team and this nation is always capable of a big result'

Seamus Coleman is promising a positive return performance in Geneva next month.

Seamus Coleman during last night's 1-1 draw with Switzerland.
Seamus Coleman during last night's 1-1 draw with Switzerland.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND CAN NEVER be accurately described as artists, in spite of their reverence for drawing. 

Last night they forced their way to another useful 1-1, this time with Switzerland, which leaves Group D and the race for Euro 2020 looking exceptionally tight.

With Ireland now heading for the home straight, the picture is as might have been expected: two of Ireland, Denmark, and Switzerland will qualify for the Euros; the odd one out may get a reprieve via the complex mathematics of the Uefa Nations League. 

Ireland have their games with Gibraltar out of the way and points on the board, and thus lead Denmark by three points and the Swiss by six; sides who have one and two games in hand respectively. 

With Ireland in friendly action with Bulgaria next Tuesday, their rivals can begin to reel Mick McCarthy’s side in on Sunday, as Denmark go to Georgia and Switzerland host Gibraltar. Ireland’s next competitive outing is October’s double-header away to Georgia and then the Swiss in Geneva. 

Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic last night said Ireland needed to win that return fixture, although McCarthy was more circumspect in saying his side may need to “circle the wagons” at times in that game. 

Captain Seamus Coleman, however, is promising slightly more. 

“We’re positive in every game we go into, regardless of the outcome of the game”, said Coleman after last night’s game.

We go into every game wanting to win. Tonight we tried to press them and get on the front foot. We caused them some problems early on but top teams can tire you out and that’s what they did. We’ll go there on the front foot and this team and this nation is always capable of a big result.

“Just that we’re a hard team to beat and we never go away. Next month is a massive month for us but I don’t think any team will look forward to playing us either.

We’ll go there with confidence, we’ll go there on the front foot. We know we’ll probably have to sit in at times but we’re capable of catching teams on the break. We’re really looking forward to it. Hopefully everyone goes back to their clubs now and does well and comes back all guns blazing.”

Captain and manager were on the same page when it came to the Aviva atmosphere – McCarthy thanked the fans and likened the noise to the “days of old”, and Coleman hailed the supporters’ role in helping Ireland force the equaliser. 

“I think the fans played a massive part in that as well. They really helped us in the last 20 minutes when we were tiring. Any time we broke, they got right behind us. They wanted us to go on and get a second goal as well, which was positive.

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“The Irish fans, as I’ve said time and time again, are unbelievable. When the team are going well they get right behind us. Tonight we felt that massively, especially in the second half when they tried to drive us on for a second.”

seamus-coleman-and-fabin-schar Coleman confronts Fabian Schar. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Coleman admitted he wasn’t 100% the morning of the game, but shrugged off its effects. 

“Look, as players I don’t think you’re ever quite 100%, but yeah, I felt a little bit croaky this morning but I’m grand. It’s not the first time that’s happened. We cracked on, got that point and that’s all that matters.”

His leadership instincts weren’t curbed: just as in Denmark in June, Coleman wasn’t afraid to square up to the hectoring opposition, this time after Shane Duffy was left writhing and holding his knee after a collision late in the second-half. 

“Sometimes they get in and around the referee and try to referee the game. It’s important to have a player in there to make sure that we’re not going to let them try and dictate how the ref manages the game. It’s all tactics and all part of the game.”

Coleman also heaped praise on goalscorer David McGoldrick, who headed his first-ever international goal in his 11th appearance for Ireland. 

“I’m delighted for him, absolutely delighted. He works so hard for the team, as you could see tonight. He’s always one of the best players in training and we know he’s got that quality.

“That goal will do him the world of good. He’s a great lad so we’re all delighted for him.”

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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