Reporting by Robert Redmond from the Aviva Stadium.
The Republic of Ireland 1 Switzerland 1.
Mick McCarthy’s side gained a valuable point in Dublin as they held Switzerland to a 1-1 draw. Fabian Schär opened the scoring for the visitors before David McGoldrick scored a late equaliser for Ireland.
Here’s how we rated the Ireland players:
Darren Randolph – 6
Making his 39th appearance for Ireland, Randolph was his usual composed self, making a couple of comfortable saves and looking completely unflustered in the face of Swiss pressure.
Randolph, who has kept 13 clean sheets for the Boys in Green, is a calm presence at the back for club and country, a super-reliable goalkeeper who is arguably Ireland’s most consistent player. He could do very little about Switzerland’s excellent goal.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 5, 2019
Seamus Coleman – 7
Coleman has started the season with some solid performances for Everton, inching closer to the form that made him one of the best players in his position in the Premier League before a horror injury against Wales in March 2017. Against Switzerland, the Ireland captain was lively and involved in a couple of Irish raids into the Swiss half. Winning his 54th cap, Coleman was defensively solid in the second half and helped the team get over the line.
Richard Keogh – 5
The Derby County defender was, once again, preferred ahead of John Egan. McCarthy has settled on a partnership of Keogh and Duffy and the pair were generally solid on Thursday night, if a little too deep for the Swiss goal. Keogh was also caught out of position and for pace by Breel Embolo in a move that almost led to a goal but for Alan Judge’s interception.
Shane Duffy – 7
Earning his 30th cap, Duffy was aggressive in challenges and made his fair share of blocks and tackles. He was also positive in possession. The Brighton defender took the ball out from the back on a few occasions and looked to get Ireland playing with passes into midfield. It made a welcome change from Duffy aimlessly lumping the ball away, as he often had to under the previous manager. Unfortunately, Ireland failed to take advantage of his aerial prowess from set-pieces.
Enda Stevens – 5
The Sheffield United wing-back has been in brilliant form at club level. He was one of the brightest players on the pitch against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, proving instrumental in their fightback from two goals down to rescue an impressive draw. However, at international level, Stevens plays with James McClean and the pair fail to link-up. Stevens couldn’t make his usual runs into the opposition half as McClean was in the way, hugging the touchline, or unavailable for a pass. He improved after the break. Stevens delivered an excellent ball into the box that wasn’t attacked and made a brilliant last-ditch interception.
Glenn Whelan – 6
Making his 88th appearance for Ireland, Whelan was tasked with protecting the back four. The Hearts midfielder, who looked off the pace in Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Denmark back in June, struggled when without the ball tonight. Switzerland passed their way through Ireland with ease and broke through their press. Whelan was often left isolated and suffered from a lack of mobility. The midfielder was more effective in possession, a calm presence who rarely lost the ball. But Switzerland found it too easy to play around him, as the goal showed. Cracked the crossbar with a wonderful strike in the final minutes of the game.
Jeff Hendrick – 5
Hendrick was the brightest Irish midfielder in an admittedly flat first-half. He worked hard and was part of a couple of promising breaks, winning the ball and starting moves. Faded after the break and let Schär run away from him for the Swiss goal.
Conor Hourihane – 5
The Aston Villa midfielder has arguably been Ireland’s key player in the qualification campaign so far. Hourihane scored the winning goal against Georgia, and his deliveries from set-pieces have proved very dangerous for Ireland. Against Switzerland, he was largely anonymous. A few nice touches in the first half followed by a second-half where he barely had a touch of the ball. Like the rest of Ireland’s midfield, he struggled against the Swiss and was caught cold for the goal. His deliveries weren’t effective.
Callum Robinson – 5
Ireland’s in-form player, Robinson has been impressive for Sheffield United so far this season in the Premier League, and was excellent in their 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Saturday. Robinson scored one goal and set-up another, linking up well with Irish teammate Stevens. Unfortunately, he failed to shine against Switzerland, despite showing some bright flashes in the first half. He may have got his first international goal if McClean had got his head up and played him a pass, with Robinson free on the edge of the area. For some reason, McCarthy opted to substitute him early in the second half.
James McClean – 5
McClean may love the country and be a firm fan favourite, but it is difficult to remember the last time he played well for Ireland. It is also difficult to recall the last time he was in form for his club. Yet, McClean is guaranteed to start for the national team, regardless of how poor he plays, seemingly held to a different standard than some of his teammates. He was, once again, frequently out of position, poor in possession and generally in the way against the Swiss. He spoiled a breakaway opportunity to attempt a stepover and lost the ball and was caught offside as Ireland chased an equaliser. His deflected cross ended up landing to McGoldrick, who scored Ireland’s equaliser with a fantastic header. McClean admittedly worked hard to win the ball back before the cross, but this does not mask his general performance, which was once again sub-standard.
David McGoldrick – 8
Before the Switzerland game, McGoldrick had yet to score for Ireland, but his impact went beyond goals. Against Georgia in March, McGoldrick was fantastic, leading the line intelligently and bringing his teammates into play. The only thing missing from the Sheffield United forward’s game is goals – he has yet to find the net for his club this season either. That dry run, at international level, was ended on Thursday night. McGoldrick popped up with an excellent header at the back post to rescue a point for Ireland.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 5, 2019
Alan Judge – 5
Looked a little lost on the right-side of midfield but did a shift defensively.
Scott Hogan & Alan Browne – N/A
Not on long enough to rate.