The accepted reality today is that anything less than a convincing win for Ireland this evening in the faroe Islands will spell the end of Giovanni Trapattoni"s Irish adventure, and it would need to be very convincing.
The Irish Independent reported that "A senior FAI source" had said Ireland would need to "win 10-0" for Trapattoni to save his job.The same story went on to quote the FAI source as saying "I know it might be a miracle following what happened against Germany, but you"d never know." The implication here is that a normal, confident Ireland side could realistically hope for a rout against the Faroese minnows. This has been common thinking in the days since the Germany game- After all, this is the Faroe Islands and who are they? A team of postmen and bakers and all the other cliched jobs that every single part time football team seems to work as when not losing heroically.
Brian Kerr gave a slightly more detailed description when telling The Irish Times about his work with the national squad, who he managed for two years; “We have four carpenters, at least six full-time students – one of them had to fly to Copenhagen and back for an exam this week – two policemen, an accountant, one fella works in a sports shop, two teachers, Andreas works in a bowling alley, and he’s doing a bit of carpentry as well. Simun is full-time in Iceland, Suni works in a fish factory, I think Frodi"s a builder, Jakup is a teacher but he’s on the town council as well, he’s like a TD. That’s kind of the run of it. The pool is quite limited, there’s no one at Milan we’ve missed out on. The Granny Rule isn’t much help either, the Faroese haven’t been huge at emigration.” On the surface this should be a tap in, a gimme for Ireland. Three easy points to settle the ship, even with poor recent form accounted for. And many are treating it that way. A convincing win now and Trap might have hope, anything less than that- say a narrow one or two goal win- would just be another failure, surely.
The reality is that if Ireland are to win convincingly in Torshavn they will be the first side to do so since October 2007. Then it was France who arrived on the small group of islands in the North Atlantic and made sure the form book was followed to the letter as they hammered six past their hosts. It was to be the last humiliation visited upon the Faroes at home.
In the past five years the Faroe Islands have turned their small Tórsvøllur stadium in Torshavn into a prospect far trickier for visiting teams than their 158th place in the world rankings would suggest. In the five years since the 6-0 defeat to France they have played eleven competitive home games, with the following results-
Northern Ireland 1-1
There have been narrow one goal defeats to Sweden, Italy and France with wins or draws against Austria, Lithuania and Northern Ireland. With only three of their eight defeats coming by more than the odd goal there is little by way of solid evidence to mean we should expect a vengeful rout in Torshavn tonight. Anything more than a draw should be happily snatched as the nightmarish visions that were coming into view in the final ten minutes in Kazakhstan could become reality tonight if Ireland can"t improve hugely on Friday"s performance.Sweden needed a late winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to take three points last Friday, we shouldn"t expect Walters and Keane to add to their international goal tallies with a pedestrian ease. And if we do win by 3 or 4? Maybe there"s life in this team, and manager, yet.