It’s a big, big problem for Ireland.
Following the defeat to Finland, to put Ireland’s goalscoring problems into perspective, of the 55 UEFA nations that are competing in the Nations League, 53 countries have scored more goals than Ireland across the two editions of the competition.
Only San Marino, who are still waiting to score their first-ever goal in the Nations League, are beneath Ireland in terms of goalscoring.
In fact, Ireland’s only goals in the Nations League were scored by Shaun Williams against Wales and Shane Duffy’s last-minute header in Bulgaria.
The defeat to Finland in Helsinki means that Ireland haven’t scored a goal in 390 minutes of international football now and during his post-match analysis on Sky Sports, former Ireland midfielder David Meyler said that the players need to have a conversation among themselves.
“When Stephen came in, he spoke about playing this possession-based game,” the former Hull City and Sunderland man said on Sky Sports after the match.
“We were going to play out from the back. We were going to go after teams. It’s hard – I’ve played with a lot of these lads and I know how hard they’re working. I’ve always come with the attitude that I wouldn’t be afraid to say what I’m going to say here to the player [in person]. If I was in that changing room tonight, I would be annoyed with players and the chances [they’ve missed].
“Ronan Curtis, you’ve got to score. Aaron Connolly has the ball, he’s got to pull it back for Daryl Horgan. Those small details which will take us on a level or two. If we get the decision making in the final third right, we will score goals. The chances are there, we are creating. It’s just about who’s going to be the man to step up, take that responsibility and put the ball in the net.”
Once again, Fredrik Jensen’s goal was all that separated the sides and these sentiments were echoed by Brian Kerr on Virgin Media who felt that Aaron Connolly’s inexperience at international level was a key factor in Ireland failing to score against Finland – something the Brighton man admitted himself in his honest post-match interview.
“I think it’s easy enough to find the positives. When we played Finland in Dublin, they outplayed us, particularly in the middle and we were well beaten. Tonight was different, the team was lively and got around the pitch well.
Kerr adds: “We created plenty of opportunities. I thought Aaron Connolly’s lack of experience at a high level told. The choices he made when he got into the box and had chances.”
You can view his comments in full below.
"I think Aaron Connolly's lack of experience at a high level told. The choices he made when he got into the box."
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) October 14, 2020