Ireland went down to a two nil defeat by Switzerland in Geneva this Tuesday evening, their first loss in this 2020 European Championship qualifying campaign. The result means that Ireland must win their final group match against old foes Denmark in Dublin on Monday the 18th November 2020 to earn automatic qualification for the Finals. Ireland will go into that contest without Seamus Coleman (dismissed this evening).
A prolonged period of heavy rain in the hours leading up to this evening’s contest had the match in doubt but it went ahead on a very heavy pitch which it was felt might benefit Ireland. This was certainly not the case in the first half as the hosts dominated proceedings while Ireland were quite errant and indeed poor. The hosts took a deserved lead on sixteen minutes through Seferovic who fired a sizzling shot through the legs of Shane Duffy and into the bottom corner. The pitch did not appear to impair them in any way and they had a number of other efforts just off target.
Ireland introduced Callum O’Dowda for James Collins at the half-time break and he, in conjunction with most of his colleagues, brought a new emphasis to proceedings and we began to impact the match in a much more positive vein. Despite enjoying much better quality possession we were unable to fashion any clear cut chances.
Scott Hogan replaced Aaron Connolly on 69 minutes but our impetus stalled on 75 minutes with the dismissal of captain Seamus Coleman, foolishly cautioned in the first half, for a penalty area handball offence resulting in a penalty and a second yellow card. Darren Randolph made an excellent save of the spot kick but the 10 men were always facing an uphill battle thereafter. An unfortunate own goal from Shane Duffy in the third minute of added time set the seal on the evening’s proceedings.
Save for the disappointing Coleman, the remaining players performed much better than their paltry efforts in Yerevan on Saturday, with substitutes O’Dowda and Hogan, whose hold-up play and technical nous looked quite impressive in his twenty four minutes involvement, offering a much improved impetus to the team.
Mick McCarthy made three changes to his starting eleven, from last Saturday’s draw in Georgia, with Enda Stevens, Alan Browne and Aaron Connolly replacing Matt Doherty, Conor Hourihane and Callum Robinson.
Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman(C), Shane Duffy, John Egan, Enda Stevens; Jeff Hendrick, Glenn Whelan, Alan Browne; Aaron Connolly, James Collins, James McClean
Callum O’Dowda for Collins 46′
Scott Hogan for Connolly 69′
P W D L F A G/D Pts
Ireland 7 3 3 1 6 4 2 12
Denmark 6 3 3 0 16 5 11 12
Switzerland 6 3 2 1 12 5 7 11
Georgia 7 2 2 3 7 10 -3 8
Gibraltar 6 0 0 6 2 19 -17 0
Friday 15 November 2019
Denmark v Gibraltar
Switzerland v Georgia
Monday 18 November 2019
Gibraltar v Switzerland
Republic of Ireland v Denmark