In preparation for Ireland’s trip to Bosnia, I stumbled across a fantastic title on Back Page Football thanks to one of the site’s many columnists Garry Bacon.
Pjanic on The Streets of Dublin, a reference to The Smiths and Miralem Pjanic, which in anticipation was deemed fair.
Bosnia and Herzegovina were average at best from what I could see. So were Ireland, who will be happiest of the two nations following a 1-1 draw in Zenica.
The away goal stands to us as an advantage but our opponents are likely to score at the Aviva, so try avoid being overly optimistic.
Edin Dezko, Bosnia’s only goalscorer on Friday night, and Miralem Pjanic are both star players for their country but neither provided brilliance that was expected.
Foggy conditions interfered with RTÉ’s broadcast meaning anyone sat at home missed pretty much the entire second-half.
Whether that was a good thing or not, Ireland were lackadaisical in possession and will require a much more convincing display if they’re going to secure a place at the European Championships in France next summer.
The performance lacked fight and urgency which you usually get from Ireland in games that matter but maybe Martin O’Neill, like the rest of us, was happy with the draw from kick-off and anything else would be seen as a bonus.
That should change when shit hits the fan in Dublin as Ireland need a result regardless of securing an away goal.
Robbie Brady scored the opener for Ireland by showcasing a great degree of skill before catching Amir Begovic at his near post. Dzeko’s goal, on the other hand, came from wing play that caught James McClean napping and not following his runner.
Ireland cannot afford to make mistakes like that in the second-leg. For starters, we don’t have technically gifted players like Pjanic that don’t need more than one chance to cause damage.
Granted, if they perform like they did tonight we might not have too much to worry about. Yet they could be saying the very same about ourselves.
The fog may not have only caused havoc for broadcasters but maybe the players too. RTÉ did however provide pitch-side angles that appeared ever so slightly more visible.
We’re in a good position now, inches away from qualification. Considering the fact we have Jonathan Walters returning, potentially Shane Long and John O’Shea, Irish citizens ought to walk around the coming days breathing optimism.
The rugby World Cup is over; this is the team sport that has given us more ups on and downs on the international stage than anything else.
Keep on eye out on the blog throughout the next couple of days. I’m on the ground yet again for Back Page Football on Monday night, so expect another diary of some sort – similar to what was published after the memorable win over Germany in October.
Meanwhile, the news is still evolving about the goings on in Paris. This world is shit sometimes.