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'We're Maybe At A Disadvantage Playing Behind Closed Doors'

'We're Maybe At A Disadvantage Playing Behind Closed Doors'
By Dylan Ryan

Former Irish striker Kevin Doyle believes that Ireland may be at a disadvantage when they play their crucial playoff with Slovakia behind closed doors.

Speaking to The Buildup podcast with Ladbrokes, Doyle said that the support from travelling Irish fans could change the tide of the playoff and that their absence would be significant.

Doyle, who played against Slovakia in Bratislava in 2007, also reckons that the Slovakian home support would not have been hostile if supporters were allowed in.

Initially, I thought not having the home crowd would be a massive bonus.

But I've played in Slovakia before and it's not the hostile place that some places are to go. It wasn't the former Eastern European atmosphere you get in some of the places you go.

Slovakia was quite calm and relaxed and we're not avoiding a hostile atmosphere. It was a decent stadium and a good crowd.

On the other hand, Doyle said that Ireland would suffer hugely for the loss of their away support.

The former Wolves and Reading striker thinks that Ireland benefit from their travelling fans more than any other country.

We get a massive boost from our fans, more so than any other country. We get a boost from our away fans; the numbers that travel, the enjoyment they seem to get out of it no matter what, and the noise and the support they make.

It being a massive game as well, it would have ramped that up even more. I don't think it's the same boost that other countries would have gotten by playing behind closed doors. We're maybe at a disadvantage.

It's not the positive that everyone thinks it is.

Doyle said that it would be an unusual situation for Irish players. This playoff is arguably the biggest game of their season and Doyle thinks that they will miss the triggers from the crowd.


Furthermore, he feels that Irish players would find it difficult to play their normal game without any noise from the crowd with Ireland's 'up and at em' style of football relies on a noisy atmosphere:

It will definitely be a strange scenario. The crowd is a trigger. The national anthem is a trigger.

I don't know if the calm and clinical atmosphere behind closed doors will help us.

See also: Huge Montenegro Win Leaves Ireland On Brink Of Making Euros History

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