KAZAKHSTAN REMAIN BULLISH about their chances of causing an upset against Ireland in Astana on Friday evening, with their captain Kairat Nurdauletov insisting that nothing less than a win against Giovanni Trapattoni’s side will do.
Ireland head into the match as firm favourites, despite a miserable showing at Euro 2012, as they take on a side 116 places below them in the FIFA world rankings.
“We would like to win. Only a victory will do. We wouldn’t accept a draw,” Nurdauletov told a press conference in the country’s capital on Thursday.
“Our preparation went well. We have been preparing specifically for the Irish team. We feel very good. We want to prove that our football is improving and developing.”
Kazakhstan’s Czech coach Miroslav Beranek has the height of respect for the Ireland team, but says he has pinpointed weaknesses and told his side to exploit them.
“Ireland have players who play in the Premier League, who play in the USA, and there is Aiden McGeady, who plays for Spartak Moscow. The team have lots of good players,” he said.
“I watched Robbie Keane play in a game recently. He had two chances and scored two goals.
“The team do have weak points. I will not discuss them now but I have told my players what they are and they will try to exploit them.”
While he believes that Germany will easily win the group, Beranek is hopeful that the minnows in the group can close the gap to the likes of Ireland, Sweden and Austria, just above them.
“Our group can be split into three – the first group is Germany, the second is Ireland, Sweden and Austria, and the third is our nation and the Faroe Islands,” said Beranek, who assumed his role last year.
“I want to close that gap between the second and third group, I want to show that there is not such a big difference and we have a match here to show we can do this.”