Reaction to World Cup Draw
Germany- A world cup qualification record that is second to nobody. Ruthless efficiency has seen Germany lose only two of their last seventy-four world cup qualifiers. They will be deservedly odds-on to win the group. While Irish fans may have gasped at seeing Germany come out of pot one, the FAI will be delighted with the cash bonanza to come from the TV rights. Currently Germany are running away with their European Championships Qualification group, with a 100% record from seven games and qualification virtually sealed. Interestingly their group also contains Austria and Kazakhstan.
Speaking about the draw, German general manager Oliver Bierhoff said, “We are satisfied. It is not an easy group but we are satisfied we do not have to face France. On paper Ireland are behind Sweden but we see them as being as strong as Sweden and with Trapattoni it will not be easy.”
Ireland last met Germany during the ill fated Steve Staunton regime, where only one point was gained from the two games for the boys in green.
Sweden – An interesting draw and it gives Irish fans a rare treat of a competitive game in Scandinavia. While out recent record against the Swedes in friendlies is good, they are a different kettle of fish when it comes to competitive games. With undoubted quality sprinkled throughout their team, particularly with the always dangerous Ibrahimovic and Ekdal, Sweden currently sit in second place in the Euro qualifiers behind the Dutch.
Speaking about the draw, Sweden manager Erik Hamren said, “Ireland will be tough. I expect a big fight with them but Germany will be clear favourites.”
This will be Ireland’s first competitive game against Sweden since the 1972 European Championship qualifiers.
Austria – Been going through a difficult ten years, Austria have struggled to make an impact on the international stage. Tough team to break down, particularly in Vienna. Our last competitive games against Austria were the utterly forgettable 3-1 home and away defeats in the qualifying campaign for Euro 1996. Arguably one of the better pot 4 teams, Austria will certainly be up for their game against Germany.
Their manager Dietmar Constantini stated, “I love Trapattoni, really. He is a very good coach, world class. With him Ireland is a tough number three seed and would have been a tough number two. So I think the fight to be second in the group will be between Sweden, Ireland and us.”
Faroe Islands – Supposedly made pot 5 ahead of Wales after a student rang FIFA to inform them of a mistake in their rankings. Brian Kerr will certainly need no motivation for the matches with Ireland, but Giovanni Trapattoni will certainly be pleased with this draw. Improving side and a handful in Torshavn, proven when they recently beat Estonia. Ireland have made hard work on the northern Atlantic island in the past.
Kerr was very realistic after the draw. “There’d be a bit of me saying that I would like to be coming back with a team that I’d have a real chance with. The reality is that the Republic of Ireland should beat the Faroes out of sight.”
Kazakhstan – Their only win in this current campaign cam against near neighbours Azerbaijan. The drawback however is the long trip to the central Asian country. They rarely get turned over easily but 6 points is still essential for Ireland from these fixtures.
Their manager Miroslav Beránek from the Czech Republic said after the draw, “Ireland are a very skilled team. In my opinion they are the strongest of the third seeds.”