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Ireland vs Spain: ‘It’s like Ali fighting a dwarf’

by Paddy Power Admin | June 13, 2012
Michael Robinson

CLASS OF 84: Robinson in action for Ireland. Nice kit back then (Picture: Inpho)

By Ciaran O Raghallaigh | Ex-player puts boot in

ARTHUR WELLESLEY. Remember him? Better known as the Duke of Wellington, he was the Irishman who became British Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army.

Famously, he wasn’t a fan of being called an Irishman and said: “Being born in a stable does not make one a horse.”

It seems former Ireland international Michael Robinson, capped 24 times, has taken a leaf out of his book this week – dumping a horse-size lump of excrement on the homeland.

Speaking in Spanish daily newspaper ‘AS’, the former Preston North End, Brighton and Hove Albion, Liverpool, Queens Park Rangers and Osasuna player, who’s a long-time media pundit in Spain, says Ireland are simply “not capable of beating Spain”.

“Irish football has not changed since I played for them, not at all – and perhaps that’s the problem,” he said, looking down his nose.

“Football there is going through a Darwin-style evolution. A slow one. I don’t think football over there has changed much despite the influx of so many foreign players to the Premier League.

“I read that Ireland was going to adopt ‘catenaccio’ because Giovanni Trapattoni is their manager. What a load of nonsense! Ireland’s players don’t know how to play that way.

“Ireland could be playing against Spain, Iceland or planet mars, it’s the same, they wouldn’t have much of the ball. People associate them with catenaccio because they don’t know how to use the ball, but it’s not catenaccio.”

Robinson (left) has little time for the team’s style – and even less for manager Trapattoni.

“I don’t think he’s been particularly good or particularly bad. Has he taken something from Ireland? No. Has he brought anything new to Ireland? No.

“Ireland do what they can, I respect that, but I’d like to see them try new things. They try and give their best, but trying their best isn’t enough to call it good football.” Annoyed yet?

There’s more.

“There’s no threat from Ireland, Ireland cannot win this match,” he sniggered, readying for the knockout punch.

“It’s like Muhammad Ali fighting a dwarf. Ireland are going to try to be an irritating obstacle, but if Spain play at 80 per cent of their ability, they’ll thrash them.

“I want Spain to win on Thursday, but I hope no-one calls me a traitor for that. I hope Ireland finish the game with dignity, with the glory of competing with this great Spain side.

“I’m supporting Spain. I hope Ireland go out of the tournament unscathed, that they play like gladiators. But I’ve lived in Spain a long time, Spain has given me so much.”

It’s not just horses that live in stables, asses do too.

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