Ireland player ratings as three stars shine brightest against France
A near miss for Ireland in Dublin as France snatch 1-0 win.
Ireland’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier ended in defeat to the World Cup runners-up despite a fine performance at a sold-out Aviva Stadium.
Here is how the Boys in Green fared in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier.
Gavin Bazunu - 6
Closed down space well to deny an early chance. Forced into no first-half saves and could do nothing for France’s opener. Two good saves from Diaby and Rabiot to deny a second.
Nathan Collins – 6
A couple of fine tackles in an accomplished display on his 11th successive start. Helped Coleman keep Mbappe at bay. Was denied a famous leveller from Maignan’s world-class save.
John Egan - 7
Returned to the centre of defence and prevented Giroud from a sight on goal. Ireland’s positioning was crucial and he marshalled the defence well. A fine display.
Dara O’Shea - 6
Some crucial headers relieved pressure and looked comfortable in defence. Made a goal-saving tackle from Kolo Muani in second half. Looks like a key cog for years to come.
Séamus Coleman - 6
Overcame thigh strain to start. The 34-year-old kept up well with Mbappé at right wing-back on his 68th cap before switching to the back-three late on.
Jayson Molumby - 7
Fine clearance to deny Kolo Muani’s early cross and made a big tackle on 20 minutes on Hernandez to hype up the crowd. A superb energetic shift in right-midfield.
Josh Cullen - 6
Kenny’s midfield lynchpin had a fine first half, but his loose pass allowed Pavard intercept Knight and open the scoring. He’ll still play a vital role in this campaign.
Jason Knight – 6
First start since September in a more advanced role. Committed shift on the left but switched off for Pavard’s strike. Will be a key player for years to come.
Matt Doherty - 6
Deployed at left wing-back for the first time since September 2021. Kept Kolo Muani quiet for the most part and made a few good forays forward before McClean replaced him.
Chiedozie Ogbene - 7
Dispossessed Mbappé in the first minute to set the tone. Acted as the out-ball and proved a constant threat. Switched to right-wing back late on and deservedly won Man of the Match.
Evan Ferguson - 5
First competitive start. Hold-up play against Upamecano was good but had a quiet first half. Looked through on goal on 58 minutes but Ogbene failed to pass before being replaced by Idah.
Substitutes - 7
Adam Idah was introduced on 65 minutes for his first appearance in 16 months but failed to find a leveller. James McClean, Mikey Johnston and Alan Browne came on wand added a real spark, but it wasn’t to be. Michael Obafemi made a late cameo.
Manager – 7
Stephen Kenny went with his strongest eleven after losing O’Dowda to injury. Will be pleased with Ireland’s overall display against world-class opposition, but Ireland’s Achilles heel of conceding goals from distance continues.
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