1. Were Croatia just too good to compete with?
No. They were very good. But they weren’t any better than Russia when Ireland drew 0-0 in Moscow. Of course, that was a bit of a freak – but that’s the level we’ve come to expect from this Ireland team.
They simply didn’t perform to close to their maximum, and that’s the biggest shame.
2. Were Ireland ripped off by the ref?
Well, even Trapattoni didn’t argue too much about this one – and he’s one man you’d have expected to do so, given his history with refs (see Byron Moreno).
Yes, Robbie Keane was denied a clear-cut penalty, sure, Nikica Jelavic could have been ruled offside when Luka Modric shot. But the ref would have had to wear green to make a major difference last night.
3. Are Ireland screwed?
Yes. Ireland, from the very minute the draw was made, needed to get something from this game. And it was always clear that if they slipped up, the week would become a very long one indeed. The bubble burst in a major fashion, and nothing less than a miracle would do now.
It’s hard to think he’s not suffering himself. Trap is a proud man, and was always proud of how hard this side were to beat. But to see them torn apart and self-destruct in this manner was harsh. He was more muted in the press conference than usual.
The fire wasn’t there. Questions will surround his subs, tactics and future plans.
5. What now?
It’s difficult to see Ireland taking anything from the last two games – at least anything of consequence. Sure, the fans will get praised, but didn’t everyone say they didn’t want to be here to ‘make up the numbers’?
If you want to watch your team lose, and be praised for not rioting, go watch the rugby team.