REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The Republic of Ireland will have to park talk of supporter protest at the Aviva Stadium when they host Georgia in Tuesday's Group D qualifier (kick-off 7.45pm).
Manager Mick McCarthy is hoping for no John Delaney related protests (see here). He got his second reign as Ireland boss off to an underwhelming start last Saturday evening in Gibraltar with Jeff Hendrick sparing his sides blushes on the Mediterranean coast.
Tuesday evening’s encounter in Dublin 4 offers McCarthy the ideal opportunity to kickstart the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in front of a home crowd.
Speaking with the assembled media at FAI HQ on Monday afternoon, the Ireland boss noted that he is expecting a difficult encounter against the Eastern Europeans.
“I have seen them play and they are a very good side,” the former Ipswich Town boss admitted.
“I think it’s a tough task and when we are at home, we have to take all of the advantages that we’ve got. We’ll have a good crowd behind us and if we can start well, we’ll see how it goes from there.
“What has happened in the past doesn’t increase any pressure on me at all. I’ve started and we’ve got three points, the same three points that we would have had even if the players had got more goals.
In terms of team news for the Boys in Green, McCarthy told the media at his press briefing that Shane Duffy is his only injury concern heading into the Aviva showdown.
“Shane has a sore ankle so we have left him out today. He’s going to have a scan so we’ll know more then, I’m hopeful he’s okoy but he might not be”
Hoping to get the better of Ireland for the first time in a senior international clash, Georgia come to Dublin looking to upset an increasingly frail looking Irish side.
Managed by Vladimir Weiss, the father of the former Manchester City winger who goes by the same name, Georgia have shown signs that they can play some attractive football against the top European sides before and will fancy their chances in the Aviva Stadium.
While they have not won any of their games against the Boys in Green, Georgia will feel hard done by to have not got all three in the last encounter between the two sides.
Despite dominating with 79% possession, Georgia could not get the better of Martin O’Neill’s side in the 1-1 draw in Tbilisi in 2017.
Speaking following his sides 2-0 home defeat to Switzerland last Saturday, Georgia boss Weiss noted that he is expecting a difficult game against Mick McCarthy’s new side.
“We will try to score points in Ireland,” Weiss told the assembled press at the Dinamo Arena prior to departure to Dublin.
“The opponent has a new coach, every coach has his own philosophy. Ireland had a difficult match against Gibraltar.
“Ireland is a strong team at home, but we will try to do the unexpected and win.”
In terms of team news for the visitors, Jimi Tabidze will miss out thanks to a concussion. Weiss noted however that he will probably make two or three changes from Saturday’s defeat to the Swiss.
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (Netherlands).
In Mick McCarthy’s first game as manager, the Republic of Ireland fell to a 2-0 defeat to Russia at the old Lansdowne Road venue.
In the previous nine games between Ireland and Georgia, there have been 22 goals scored between the teams. The Republic of Ireland have won eight out of nine while there has also been one draw recorded.
Over 45,000 supporters watched on in 2009 as Giovanni Trappatoni’s Ireland came up trumps in a 2-1 win at Croke Park. A late goal from Robbie Keane, now part of McCarthy’s coaching team, secured all three points on that occasion.
Republic of Ireland 8/15; Draw 13/5; Georgia 11/2.
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Georgia
Republic of Ireland
Doubtful: Shane Duffy.
Injured: Jimi Tabidze.
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