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Ireland ready to put Kerr’s homework to the positive test
When Ireland’s players were told they would be sent a DVD Authentic Prada Handbags Wholesale of Israel to watch before they came on this trip, they may have hoped for a few shots of the beach, a guide to their hotel and a sense of the local cuisine. What arrived left them in no doubt as to the importance of tonight’s qualifier.
Brian Kerr, always meticulous in his preparation, Black Prada Bag With Gold asked every member of his squad to take time to look at selected material showing what they can expect from their latest opponents. In arguably the tightest of Europe’s qualifying groups the manager is leaving nothing to chance.
Kerr is a fan of dispatching DVDs to his players and also went through collective video work yesterday. He must have been pleased to hear his captain Kenny Cunningham say: “We know exactly what to expect. Israel won’t have any surprises for us.”
Such details could be decisive in a group where Ireland, Israel and France are level and Switzerland are three points back with a game in hand. With France facing a vital five days, playing at home to Switzerland tonight and here on Wednesday, Kerr knows the table could be shaped significantly now.
France were widely regarded as favourites to finish top but Ireland do not feel they are playing for second place. Nor should they when they have held France in Paris, seen Israel achieve an identical result Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Official Website there, and are on an impressive run that includes friendly wins over Holland and Portugal.
“Qualification for the World Cup is what we are aspiring to and anything less than that would be very disappointing,” Cunningham said. “Our focus at this moment is on winning the group, although we know that won’t be easy.”
Israel’s captain Avi Nimni has described Ireland as a stronger team than France at the moment, noting the international retirement of Zindine Zidane and a calf injury that may sideline Thierry Henry tonight.
Kerr dismissed Nimni’s comments as “pre-match talk”, hinting at mind games and calling France “one of the real world powers”, but his determination to avoid bold statements should not be mistaken for a lack of belief in his squad.
He generally prefers to keep matters low-key but Cunningham said: “There will be no negative thoughts Are Prada Handbags Cheaper In Italy among the players. We have been in a rich vein of form over the last six months, we have a lot of confidence in each other.”
France’s game against Switzerland starts after Ireland’s has finished and Kerr will monitor developments from the top of the group provided his team have avoided defeat. An Ireland win would leave them in an excellent position, especially if the game in Paris ends in the draw that Kerr would prefer.
“It’s a must-win game,” said France’s captain Patrick Vieira. Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag “The Swiss are a good team who are not scared to play the ball out from the back,” adding that the Rennes striker Alexander Frei will need to be watched. “He is a goalscorer. He can get a goal at any time.”
France’s coach Raymond Domenech, who is pleased his first-choice goalkeeper Fabien Barthez will make the Are All Prada Handbags Leather trip to Israel despite concerns about security, believes a draw against Switzerland might not be disastrous for his team.
“I can understand why Fabien was worried. It’s a shame when you need an army surrounding a football field. You know [Israel] is a place where things can happen but we have taken all the security measures we needed. We trust the Israelis.”
Switzerland’s own push for first place cannot be ignored and their coach Kobi Kuhn feels his team “can do something great” in France before playing at home to Authentic Prada Bags Online Singapore Cyprus on Wednesday.
Ireland, without a qualifier next week, will feel similarly upbeat. Their confidence has grown on the back of a strong defence – they have conceded two goals in nine games – and the presence of players such as Damien Duff and Robbie Keane who have the talent to decide a match in a flash.
“We know that as long as we keep a clean sheet we have the type Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Uk Sale of players who in an instant can produce that piece of individual brilliance that can win you the game,” Cunningham said. “It does give you confidence to keep going.”
Another boost for Ireland is the fitness of Shay Given, who has overcome a hip problem to start in goal. Cunningham expects tough periods against Israel and, having watched his DVD, believes Israel will sit back in numbers and try to strike on the break. Kerr is likely to get his players to start at a higher tempo than their hosts would like.
Clinton Morrison has shaken off an ankle problem and Kerr must decide whether to start with Steve Finnan at right midfield to give the team a more solid look or let Andy Reid play Barberino Factory Outlet Prada there. It would be no surprise if he opted for Finnan, particularly as Yossi Benayoun, the Racing Santander forward on whom Israel rely for much of their creativity click more, can drift to that side.
Ireland will face a feverish sell-out crowd, with the box office closed on the day of an Authentic Prada Clothing international for the first time since 1989. Kerr expects his players to cope. Perhaps such atmospheres featured on the DVD he organised.