Let’s face it, 95% of us soccer fans can’t stand the International break. When club football leaves us, it feels like our whole left arm is missing; you get withdrawal symptoms, from sleepless nights to horrendous anxiety, you can’t wait until the Internationals finally end.
I can’t help but feel different about the International break this week; when you see Ireland get 6 points from a possible 6, you can’t help but feel proud of your country’s’ performance. Ireland’s wins against the great Georgia and the mighty Moldova puts them firmly in 2nd place of Group D just behind Serbia & ahead of Wales.
I think we should send a flurry of thank-you cards to the Georgians also, as they fought hard to a 1-1 draw against our neighbours Wales, leaving them 2 points below Ireland.
Meanwhile, in Group F, our Northern neighbours comfortably beat San Marino 4-0 (as they should do every time). They couldn’t quite replicate the brilliance of Shane Long from a year prior, though, as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Germany.
England fared about as well as they usually do, gaining a momentous win against Malta only to follow it with a scoreless draw against Slovenia a few days later. Quite unsatisfying from an English perspective, though funnily enough they now have 7 consecutive World Cup/EURO qualifying game clean sheets; this equals their national record from 1988-90. In the other half of Group F, Scotland once again had a week they’d sooner forget, as they could only scrape a draw against Lithuania, and disappointingly lost 3-0 against Slovakia.