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James McClean's Moment of Passion After Clinching World Cup Play-Off Place

11 Octubre 2017, 03:06 | Faron Santos

Credit REUTERS

Credit
REUTERS

The draw takes place on Tuesday, October 17, with the games scheduled between 9-14 November.

We shouldn't take Croatia lightly.

Anything less and the permutations became murky; a draw would mean that results elsewhere involving Croatia and Ukraine would factor into the mix, possibly seeing Wales being the unlucky ninth team in the group of runners-up.

How many times have Ireland gone against the odds in recent years? They netted in only two away games, the 3-0 win in San Marino coming after a vital 1-0 victory in Azerbaijan, courtesy of a last-gasp victor that really wasn't deserved.

O'Neill's men remained resolute and showed the same defensive solidity they did before the break to see out a famous victory and break Welsh hearts, but their own journey is not over yet and they will be without captain Meyler for the first leg of the playoffs after his stoppage-time booking.


Character won't always be enough for this Ireland team to succeed, but when it forms the bedrock of occasions like last night's, would Ireland fans want to swap it for any other attribute? Montenegro beat them in Copenhagen while they travelled to Poland and beat the eventual group winners 4-0, suggesting they blow hot and cold.

The five matches in Dublin brought only eight points, with wins only coming against Georgia and Moldova.

I'll admit, I've scratched my head often in the last few weeks and months and wondered what is in his mind but, as ever, results can not be denied and once again O'Neill has delivered on the big night.

"Former Manchester United and Wales legend Giggs lacks experience but one would imagine he would throw his hat into the ring and is likely to be a popular choice with the fans".

We could be drawing them at the right time.


Who the team heading into playoffs from Group B remains to be seen.

The return fixture is Tuesday night, with the Swiss knowing a point will see them advance to Russian Federation.

For the heavy hitters of Irish football writing, this process is usually nothing more than an afterthought, as they're generally seated somewhere towards the front of the section where every seat has an accompanying monitor. O'Neill (and assistant manager Roy Keane) are not universally popular in Ireland but their critics cannot deny that by qualifying for last year's Euros and the playoffs for Russian Federation, they have delivered no matter how uneasy on the eye the football can be.

Despite leading the group Haris Seferović is Switzerland's top goal scorer on just four goals, highlighting the goal scoring capabilities throughout their team. McClean's finish was both cool and fierce.

It's arguable that had Northern Ireland needed something from that match to ensure reaching the play-offs they would have got at least a point from it.




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