France-Ireland: UEFA World Cup Qualifying Playoff Second Leg Preview
After a 1-0 win away at Croke Park during the first leg of the playoffs, France will now travel back home to the Stade de France to take on Ireland, with one of the two countries advancing to the World Cup.
In the first leg, Ireland was in control of the first half, while the French controlled the second half and got its game-winning goal.
Here is a preview of the match for both countries in the second leg of this important World Cup playoff.
For the French, they will head back home with an all important away goal and are also ahead on aggregate 1-0.
Despite not having a great start, they were able to make up for it with great play in the second half, and thanks to a Nicholas Anelka goal, they might have all of the offense they need in order to go on to the World Cup.
However, the French know that this journey is still not over, and they need to achieve a strong performance here in order to get into the World Cup.
They could do this by making sure that they do not concede an early away goal, as that would put an immense amount of pressure on the French to score.
Also, the French must not allow the Irish to get into that position to score, so they must take control of the match as early as they can.
And finally, France must come out and play to win, as it knows failing to qualify for the World Cup in France would be embarrassing to the same country that went to the World Cup final and nearly won over Italy in 2006.
If France can do all of this, they will have a great chance of qualifying for the World Cup on their own home soil.
After a disappointing first-leg loss, Ireland will now travel to France hoping to clinch a spot in the World Cup.
In that first leg, there was no luck for the Irish at all, as Liam Lawrence missed a wide-open net off of a shot by Robbie Keane.
The only goal the French scored came off a deflection by Irish defender Sean St. Ledger and past Irish keeper Shay Given, giving France their precious away goal.
The Irish know that they should have been able to beat French keeper Hugo Lloris at least once, but they weren't able to and find themselves down by a huge away goal.
In this match, you can expect the Irish to be attack-oriented, as they need to get a precious away goal to keep them in this playoff. However, the Irish cannot let up on their defense, and need to keep a clean sheet here to make qualifying a lot easier.
Finally, the Irish must get the French crowd out of the game early to keep themselves in this playoff.
If Ireland could do all of this, they will have a great chance of advancing to their first World Cup since 2002.
This matchup between France and Ireland will be a great game to watch for fans of both countries and for any football fan, as both of these countries are extremely close to qualifying for next year's World Cup in South Africa, but only one nation will make it.
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