'I do think we’re capable of a big result' - Coleman confident as Euros campaign hits critical stage

The Irish captain believes his side can pull off the famous win needed to get to Euro 2020.

Seamus Coleman battles with Gia Grigalava during yesterday's game.
Seamus Coleman battles with Gia Grigalava during yesterday's game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

LAST NIGHT’S DULL draw with Georgia has sharpened Ireland’s focus ahead of their final couple of games in Group D. 

Ireland must now beat either Switzerland or Denmark to qualify for Euro 2020 – Tuesday’s game in Geneva offers them a first chance to do exactly that. An Irish win against Switzerland would knock the Swiss out and qualify Ireland with a game to spare.

A draw would at least have the benefit of diminishing the Danes’ interest in the final game in Dublin – assuming they beat Gibraltar they’ll have qualified for the finals by the time they play Ireland again – but a defeat will leave Ireland and in Denmark in a straight shoot-out for second place assuming the Swiss beat Georgia and Gibraltar. 

“We’ll probably have to win one of them”, Irish captain Seamus Coleman told reporters immediately after full-time in Tbilisi, before Denmark beat Switzerland to confirm his forecast. 

“I do think we’re capable of a big result, I’ve always said that. I think over the last few years we’ve proven that, bar that bad year last year, but we are capable of big results. We have to go for it anyway Tuesday night. We won’t be sitting back, the game might dictate that you might sit back but we’ll be going there looking for the win.” 

Coleman feels that scenario may suit this Irish team. 

“It might do. We’ll see what it brings, we’ll see what the manager wants to do. People mightn’t want to hear it but we’re dangerous from set-pieces as well. So we have our own threats. The main job is to qualify and we’re still in with a shout and that’s what we want to do.”

Ireland struggled for vast swathes of yesterday’s game, although Mick McCarthy preached an optimistic outlook after the goalless draw. His captain struck a somewhat similar note. 

“I’m not saying it because the result finished the way it was, we knew coming here it was going to be a tough game”, said Coleman. “They’ve improved massively over the years and they deserve great credit for that.

“We knew it was going to be tough. They didn’t create many chances, Darren didn’t have many saves to make, but just in their half at times, we were a wee bit less composed than we would have liked.

“But look, a clean sheet and we have to look to Tuesday night. This game has gone now.

“Ah look, we wanted to win the game, but then you come back in and you realise you got a point, you got a clean sheet and we’re capable of a big result.

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“Ideally, we would have liked three points, but it wasn’t to be.

“Defensively, we should be happy with how we have played. I might not be very pretty at times, but as a back four, back five, holding midfield players, your job is to keep a clean sheet and we have done that in quite a lot of the games, so that gives us good confidence going into the games against the big teams as well.”

It wasn’t to be in Tbilisi – but Ireland have only two more games in which to make it happen.

If they don’t, then they face the hideous prospect of co-hosting a party to which they’re not invited. 

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