Robbie Fowler joins Paddy Power as a columnist for Euro 2012. Here he previews Ireland’s opening Group C game against Croatia.
Barcelona are the most attractive team in the world to watch. But they didn’t win the Champions League this year, did they? They missed out on La Liga too.
Attractive football is not always the most effective football. As Ireland’s manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, says: “It is about the result, not the show. People forget the show.” Trap’s won a few things in his time.
Let’s not kid ourselves, Ireland don’t play attractive football. But football is a results business. Nothing else matters. Under Trapattoni Ireland are on a 13-game unbeaten streak.
Ireland scored five goals against that Tuscan XI in a warm-up for the Euros but I’d read nothing into that. Croatia will be a tough game for Ireland but I fancy Ireland to beat them. Ireland are, by far, a better team.
Keane will cause problems for teams at the Euros
Most of the Irish team plays in the toughest league in the world, the Premier League. Ok, Robbie Keane is playing for LA Galaxy in America’s MLS. It’s hardly one of the toughest leagues in the world.
But you cannot argue with Robbie’s scoring, especially at international level. He’s got 53 goals in 116 games for Ireland. It’s a fantastic record. Keane will cause problems for teams in the Euros.
Fingers crossed the Irish do well, because, being a Liverpool lad, I have close Irish connections and I’ll be rooting for them.
Momentum is such a big thing. I’m always saying it. Not only in international football, but in club football too. If you start getting wins, confidence builds and you go into the next game thinking ‘we’re going to win this one’.
If Ireland beat Croatia, anything can happen. The Italians are not going to be a pushover. But Italy haven’t beaten Ireland in the last three attempts and Trapattoni will want to do well against his home country. Prove a few points.
I can see Ireland definitely getting out of the group and into the quarters.