Ireland 0-1 Luxembourg.
The Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 to Luxembourg in Dublin on Saturday night, in one of the worst defeats for the national team in a long time. Gerson Rodrigues got the goal for the away side, as Ireland’s wait for their first win under Stephen Kenny goes on.
In their 10th match under the manager, Ireland couldn’t find a way past Group A’s lowest-ranked side Luxembourg, who are ranked 98th in the world.
The national team’s hopes of reaching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar appear to be over just two games into the campaign. Here is how we rated the Ireland players.
Ireland player ratings.
Gavin Bazunu – 7
Bazunu looked calm and composed when he was called into action. Crucially, he was also good with the ball at his feet, and his distribution was very good.
He was a vocal presence and made a memorable save too, keeping out an awkward, looping effort in the first half. He arguably couldn’t do much to prevent Luxembourg’s goal.
Seamus Coleman – 6
Coleman read the game well and made several timely interceptions. Ireland’s best outfield player on the night.
Dara O’Shea – 4
O’Shea was solid for most of the game but, like the rest of the defence, reacted slowly before Luxembourg scored.
Ciaran Clark – 5
Clark won several aerial challenges and did his job well before being taken off for McClean after an hour, making some timely clearances, blocks and tackles. He wasn’t, however, great with the ball at his feet.
Enda Stevens – 4
The Sheffield United defender, winning his 17th cap for Ireland, was involved in Ireland’s best chance of the first-half, drifting infield before finding Robinson with a pass out wide.
However, it was an uncomfortable game for the Dubliner and he lost the ball on a good few occasions. Like the rest of the Irish team, he looked off the pace and low on confidence.
Matt Doherty – 4
Doherty had a very quiet game and was rarely involved as Ireland attempted to break down an eager, but limited, opposition. He was taken off for Robbie Brady at half-time.
Josh Cullen – 3
Cullen impressed against Serbia in spells but was very disappointing against Luxembourg. With the expectation of one or two passes forward to Collins, Cullen was too willing to pass the ball backwards and sideways, rather than turn and try to play through the lines, something he has the ability to do. He drifted from the game in the second half and didn’t react quick enough when the ball broke free before Luxembourg scored.
Jason Knight – 4
Ireland fans didn’t see the best of Knight against Luxembourg. He lost the ball on occasion in the first-half and was quite conservative in his passing, opting to return it straight to the Ireland central defenders rather than turn and play forward. He had completely faded from the game by the time Luxembourg scored.
Alan Browne – 4
After scoring his first goal for Ireland against Serbia on Wednesday night, Browne seemingly came into the game against the lowest-ranked side in the group full of confidence.
However, he had a quiet first half against Luxembourg and didn’t look to get on the ball enough.
Browne played as the most advanced of Ireland’s midfielders, and grew into the game a little bit more, but offered little penetration for Kenny’s team in the final third.
Callum Robinson – 4
He created Ireland’s best chance of the opening period, delivering an accurate cross for Collins, who hit the ‘keeper with his shot.
When he got sight of the goal, Robinson often rushed his efforts, opting for power over placement and didn’t come close to hitting the target.
James Collins – 4
Collins almost finished off Robinson’s pinpoint cross in the first-half, following a flowing move by Ireland, but saw his effort go straight at the goalkeeper.
Otherwise, Collins worked hard and tried to get into the game by dropping deep or making runs into the channels.
The Luton Town forward is something of a blunt object up top, however, and often slowed down the play. He should have been taken off sooner as it was clear he was fading from the match.
Robbie Brady – 5
The Burnley midfielder came on at half-time for Matt Doherty and was something of a threat from set-pieces, delivering one wonderful free-kick and finding Browne unmarked in the box.
James McClean – 4
The Stoke City winger came on for the final 30 minutes and worked hard. He looked short of match sharpness, however, having just returned to fitness.
Shane Long – 4
On for the last 20 minutes, Long made no impact.
Troy Parrott & Jayson Molumby – N/A
Neither were on long enough to rate.
Manager – 4
Kenny’s choice of three at the back made it easy for Luxembourg to sit off Ireland. The formation worked well against Serbia, but Luxembourg were a different challenge and Ireland rarely looked like scoring.
Kenny also didn’t react quickly enough to change proceedings and let players drift from the game before using his substitutes. At one point at the Aviva, it looked as though Ireland had two full-backs – Stevens and Coleman – playing in a back-three. A team on such a poor run should have things simplified for them, not complicated.
Ireland descended into a bit of rabble before the full-time whistle. The decision to leave Collins on the pitch until the 88th minute was also difficult to fathom. Kenny is 10 games into his tenure and no closer to a win.