Player Ratings: Ireland v Russia
Outmanoeuvred, out-thought and out-played. Getting the score back to 3-2 only covered the cracks on what was an extremely poor performance in which Ireland were second best all over the pitch. Lack of ideas and zero creativity meant that this was very much a case of men against boys. The following are the player ratings for Ireland versus Russia.
Shay Given - 5
Kept busy the whole afternoon and did nothing majorly wrong. He will however not be happy with his role in the first goal. Lack of first team action is beginning to show a little in his game, and nobody more than Shay will be aware of that.
John O’Shea – 5
Had to deal with a hell of a lot of attacking onslaughts from the impressive Dzagoev and Anyukov. Seemed very unsteady at times. Gave the Russians way to much space at times
Sean St Ledger – 5
Defended admirably at times, guilty of ball watching and backing off players at other times. Will have to take a share of the blame for the 3rd Russian goal as the opportunity was there for him to come out and close the space that Shirokov had. Booked on the half hour. One of the few Irish players that seemed happy to actually put in a tackle.
Richard Dunne – 6
Best of a very average defensive bunch on the night. Very soft free kick to give away for the first goal. Showed his leadership when a humiliating score line looked on the cards. Excellent assist for the second Irish goal. His comments after the match suggest that Ireland’s long ball style is certainly not something Dunne agrees with, and he quite rightly attacked the lack of a plan B in Ireland’s locker.
Kevin Kilbane – 5
Sucked out of position very easily for the second Russia goal. Struggled at intervals in the match but as expected he gave his all and defended admirably when needed. Seemed to really lack ideas when on the ball during Irish attacks.
Liam Lawrence – 4
His worse performance in an Irish shirt to date. The Portsmouth man has been a revelation in the green jersey over the past year, but was found very much wanting last night. Created nothing and was getting very very frustrated. Did dislocate his finger which cannot have helped. Gave his all as expected, but a very off day.
Glenn Whelan – 2
Simply dreadful and anonymous. Struggled massively up against such a technically good Russian midfield and was a passenger in the game right up until his deserved substitution. Asleep in the box for the first goal, Whelan was silent throughout the game, with the exception of a decent effort on goal after 52 minutes. As the elder statesman in our central midfield, a hell of a lot more was expected. Shocking.
Paul Green – 3
Started the game brilliantly, and absolutely nothing got past him in the first ten minutes. Things went completely sour after the bright start however. With no help from Whelan, Green was over run time and time again by the Russian midfield and was turned all too easily for the third Russia goal. Never seemed to look for the ball, preferring to just shy away from it. poor touch and often ran himself into trouble. Simply added nothing for 80 minutes of the game.
Aidan McGeady – 7
Looks to be finally coming of age in an Irish jersey and was quite unlucky at a few points not to open his Irish goal scoring account. Obvious that he was man marked all night, McGeady still had the beating of the full back all night long. Shame that he was working off scraps from the central midfield paring. Can still lose the ball needlessly and can still be guilty of some shocking crossing. One of the very few Irish players who could at least walk off with their head held high.
Robbie Keane – 6
His touch let him down on a number of occasions. A sharper Robbie was needed last night. Worked tirelessly but was working off scraps all night. Took his penalty very well. His tendency to walk as slowly as possible back into an onside position after the break down of an Irish attack is grating to say the least. At times he did cause the suspect Russian defence problems.
Kevin Doyle – 6
Very frustrating night for Doyle as he struggled to win any flick ons against the tall and physical Russian central defensive pairing. Booked needlessly in the second half. Difficult for the guy when all he had to work with was balls huffed up from defence, and then had to compete in the air with Ignashevich who is a good 6 inches taller than him. Just not his night.
Shane Long – Gave the big life that Ireland needed. Excellent in his cameo and tremendous in the air for such a small guy.
Darron Gibson – Got on the ball a bit in his cameo, unlike the anonymous Whelan he replaced. Should start on Tuesday night.
Keith Fahey – Looked busy and did everything he could to get involved straight away
Giovanni Trapattoni – 4
Got a lot of things wrong on the night, and seemed to be completely bamboozled by Advocaat starting Kerzhakov ahead of Pogrebynyak and youngster Dzagoev over Bystrov. Did nothing to change things when it was obvious that we were being completely overrun in midfield. Could be argued that the three substitutions he made in the second half would have been better coming at half time. Predictability oozed out of every pore of the Irish performance, and Trap did little to change it. Has to ask serious questions over his central midfield partnership after this shambolic performance. Got the substitutions right, if just too late.
Moan of the Match – So called fans leaving early. The atmosphere was simply electric at the Aviva. To see people leaving with half an hour to go was very hard to take. Worse still was to see people leaving with 5 minutes to go when Ireland were within touching distance of a simply fantastic fight back. Very hard to understand. Dutch ref Kevin Blom should also be mentioned here as he got many decisions wrong on the night, and got a lot of abuse from the crowd. Even the awarding of an Irish penalty was the wrong call.
Man of the Match
Instrumental in everything Russia did right all night. Every bit of space that was avaible, Shirokov found it. Bossed the midfield and deservedly got his name on the scoresheet. His companion Dzagoev was every bit as impressive as well in what was at times a simply fantastic Russia performance. Memories of their dazzling displays at Euro 2008 came flooding back during the first half.