Ireland V Greece review
Jose Holebas ensured the Republic of Ireland ended 2012 without the victory they craved as Giovanni Trapattoni's youngsters were undone 1-0 by Greece at Aviva Stadium.
The Irish manager tested out an experimental side that started with James Mc Carthy, James Mc Clean and Robbie Brady and included Wes Hoolhan at the break. The team showed intent from the off-set but lacked the conviction inside the box. This was clear when Simon Cox of Nottingham Forrest had a clear chance to score when Seamus Coleman who played well down the Right wing with Robbie Brady.
We troubled the Greece defense with McCarthy in the middle and McClean + Brady on the wings.It was apperent when Cox and Long seemed very up for the challange of beating the Greek defense with their quick movements into the open sapces being layed by McCarthy who seemed to find alot of space in the middle of the field when Whelan was playing a more defensive role.
Then, with Greece's first chance after they had a good piece of possesion Samaras controlled the ball just outside the area passed it sideways to Holebas whos sweet 29th-minute strike was enough to seal the victory for the side that was clearly in the Friendly frame of mind. The Greeks offered little while we were passing fluidly but casually pushed their way into the game when Ninis took a 25 yard shot on the 23rd minute that forced a diving save by Irish call up Forde who got the nod on a late call by Westwood to sit out due to a groin niggle he picked just a training before.
Clarke who accomponied captain John O' Shea at the back played very well throughout the night,
He seemed very comfortable on the ball and got his head on the ball from numerous crosses that could have been a huge threat to the Irish goal. Wes Hoolahan made a decent impact coming on at half time however he picked up the ball to deep and struggled to go forward with good possession and fluditity.
The 1-0 lose has dimmed the comeback of the irish camp after the hammering of the Germans last month. We look forward to the Sweedish world cup qualifier game which will prove a good showing as it will compare the two teams and their respective systems.
We will improve and come together and move on, onwards and upwards.