Republic Of Ireland Heading For South Africa?

Andrew BarrySenior Analyst ISeptember 7, 2008

Okay, so we're only one game into the qualifying stages of South Africa 2010, but Ireland look like a team capable of making the Finals. All the home nations were poor bar the Irish, and with a blend of youth and experience, 2010 could be our year.

It's more the manner in which Ireland dispatched a spirited Georgian side than the result, that has the Emerald Isle buzzing. Trappatoni's men looked in control for the whole 90 minutes and played with a previously unseen purpose.

The ball was worked wide to the impressive Hunt and McGeady, whose crosses kept Georgia pinned in their own half. Even if the Georgians broke, Steven Reid and Man of the Match Glenn Whelan scuppered their moves and brought the Irish forward once more.

Kevin Doyle held the ball up well to allow to team to get forward, Keane was industrious as usual. Il Trap's worked so well in the first half, Georgia were limited to one opportunity and the defence held firm.

Shay Given might as well have joined the 2,500 Irish behind him as his goal was rarely threatened. The luck of the Irish played a big part, seeing this tie moved from the hostile Tbilisi to sleep Mainz.

We took advantage, and have gotten one of the hardest trips out of the way with relative ease.

England laboured as you would have expected, Scotland looked a shadow of the side that pushed France and Italy all the way last year, Northern Ireland are back to the dogged side that will fail to get results away from Windsor and Wales

The Irish looked by the far the best of the home nation sides, and with a good group there is confidence that South Africa will end the eight year drought going back to Japan.

Only Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Montenegro can throw a spanner in the works.

The latter two will be tricky but achievable, Bulgaria are beatable as Montenegro nearly showed. Italy looked very ordinary against Cyprus and could be shot down at Croke Park.

Of course I'm getting ahead of myself, but it is conceivable that Ireland could top this group.

OK maybe I'm dreaming but I'd rather be in our position then the rest of the home nations.