IN WHAT WAS a hugely disappointing night for Irish football, Ireland were second best to their Croatian counterparts for the full 95 minutes. Here is how we thought the players did.
Shay Given – 5
Made a super save from Ivan Perisic on 21 minutes after being caught out by Mandzukic’s header for the opening goal. Unfortunate to see the Croatian striker’s effort then come off the back of his head for the third goal.
John O’Shea – 4
Should’ve been closer to Manduzkic for the third. The couple of occasions he was given the chance to put the ball into the box, his crossing wasn’t up to scratch.
Richard Dunne – 5
Caught out a couple of times in possession in the first half but did what was required of him for the remainder of the game.
Sean St Ledger – 6
Showed great strength to hold off his marker and steer McGeady’s delivery home for the equaliser.
Stephen Ward – 4
Could have done better to clear the danger in the run-up to Jelavic’s goal but replays show he was clipped slightly while attempting to clear the ball.
Damien Duff – 5
Quiet night for Duff, who put in a shift on the right flank but had to show for it at the final whistle.
Keith Andrews – 6
A tough ask to keep Luka Modric under wraps and found it difficult to keep track of the Spurs man. Had Ireland’s four best chances of the second half late in the game and should have scored with the header in injury time.
Credit: John Walton/EMPICS Sport
Glenn Whelan – 5
Let the ball run carelessly to concede a corner which led to the second goal. Never really managed to get hold of the game.
Aiden McGeady – 5
Started brightly and put in a good delivery for the equaliser but didn’t have the impact so many had hoped he would after a splendid 45 minutes against Bosnia Herzegovina. Taken off for Simon Cox.
Robbie Keane – 4
Fairly anonymous in the first half and didn’t get a whole lot of joy after the interval. Brought down by Schildenfeld for a clear penalty, which was waved away and replaced by Shane Long with 15 minutes to go. Frustrating night.
Kevin Doyle – 6
Drew a lot of fouls, particularly from Corluka, early on by putting himself about well. Didn’t get much of a chance in the second half, however, as he was withdrawn on 52 minutes for Jon Walters.
Jon Walters – 5
On for Doyle and held up the ball when it was played into him.
Simon Cox – 5
Stangely, Cox was picked instead of James McClean and Stephen Hunt to do a job on the left. Looked sprightly but what do you expect from a player quite clearly out of position?
Shane Long – 5
Given 15 minutes to impress and was full of energy. Didn’t get the breaks he needed, though.
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