'Surprise Them, Then Maybe Something Can Happen'

'Surprise Them, Then Maybe Something Can Happen'
By PJ Browne
Share this article

It's the season of the underdog. Even more so in Ireland than other countries.

Leicester winning the Premier League makes fanciful notions such as Ireland having unexpected success at Euro 2016 feel a little less improbable.

Then there's Connacht and their thrilling, edge-of-the-seat rugby which no one else could handle in the PRO12.


Both were expected to be also rans. Both exceeded those expectations.

If Ireland are to do something similar this summer, Marcel Desailly believes we have to be sharp from the opening minute of the first game against Sweden.

They can really build up the idea of winning, something like Greece or '92 Denmark. They need to build up game after game. They showed in the qualifying that they have the ability to be good. They don't concede many goals. They score crucial ones. The crowd will be there so if they feel a bit at home – you can see that their statistic at home are quite good. The fighting spirit is there. They are clever in the tactical aspects.

The preparation that Roy [Keane] and Martin O'Neill have to do is from the first game to have quick feet. They have to be sharp. Some of the other nations – Germany, Spain – you have talent. So you guess the first game that they will be alright. They don't have to be that fit but they need to be ready from the second round. So they build up their preparation for them to start to be fully fit from the second round.

For Ireland there is no vision [like Germany, Spain]. It's not negative what I say. The vision is now; first game. Quick feet. Sweden, Belgium, Italy. Surprise them. Surprise by your speed. Surprise by the type of football that you are making. Let them see the ball going in the air and never touch the floor with the speed, with the flick. Then, maybe, something can happen.

The notion that Ireland play a less sophisticated game is one which remains the perception in France. It's probably not without merit when you consider one of the goals which helped Martin O'Neill's side qualify - Shane Long's strike against Germany - harked back to the great playmaking days of Packie Bonner.

We believe that you are a little bit less modern than the English league. So you still have a big margin to progress. It takes time, it's not easy because you have a big fellow who is the English Premier League who is in front of you. So, you don't shine like you were supposed to shine.

Carlsberg ambassador, Marcel Desailly, was in Dublin today to kick start the celebrations for Irish fans ahead of Euro 2016. Carlsberg’s commitment to ‘do it better for the fans’ ensured over 1,500 fans will attend Ireland games in France and support the Green Army. For more information visit Facebook.com/Carlsberg

Read: Joxer Goes To Stuttgart - Where Are They Now?


Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com