JOHN O’SHEA HAS made one rather surprising admission ahead of the clash with Spain: the Irish squad have not yet watched Switzerland’s 2010 victory over the defending European champions, the game that seemingly set the template for mid-tier teams to beat the Spanish.
“No, not yet… but you never know.”
The full-back did, however, say that the squad still have a lot of work to regarding tackling the Spanish challenge but that a number of points have already been noted.
“The team shape is going to be so important. We’re going to have to keep our shape because they can cut you open. Staying with the runners, not following the ball with the one-twos are going to be massive things.
“Obviously, the Barcelona trait is very evident through the team. We’ll have to be on our game but we’re confident we can cause them some problems too.
“We’ve proved it in the past against the top teams and we’ll have to do that again. Our backs will be against the wall for the majority of the game and, normally, that’s where we can come out and shine.”
Given the scale of the task, though, would “shining” constitute drawing? Would that be a good enough result given Sunday night?
“We’ll know afterwards. We’ll know how the game [between Croatia and Italy] has gone. We won’t say for certain now. We can’t lose the game, we know that. We can beat Spain. We’re going to need a lot of luck along the way, and we’re going to have to play better too.”
O’Shea admitted that the team were desperately disappointed with themselves after the defeat to Croatia.
“Obviously the lads were gutted afterwards. You go into a game like that, you want a positive start but we’ve not got it. We can’t dwell on it.
“It was the goal before half-time [that beat us]. To get in 1-1, it’s a big lift to us, you know. But…”
“You can’t enjoy [the experience of being at the tournament] when you’re not winning, unfortunately. If we get a positive result against Spain, that will put a different complexion on it.
“We have to give the fans a performance to be proud of against Spain.”
One result this week has already gone O’Shea’s way, mind.
“There was a good but of needle between the Dubs and the Culchies at training today… Oh the Culchies won.”