Faroe Islands 1 Republic of Ireland 4: Trap clings on after uninspiring display
20:17 GMT, 16 October 2012
Giovanni Trapattoni left the Faroe Islands clinging on to his job after the Republic of Ireland handed him three World Cup points just when he needed them most.
The 73-year-old Italian sent his players into battle in Torshavn amid speculation that his fate had already been decided, but saw them respond just as he had hoped they might to their humiliation by Germany to rekindle their hopes of qualification.
Marc Wilson's first senior international goal gave the visitors the lead seconds after half-time, and when Jon Walters struck with 53 minutes gone, the points looked safe.
Off the Marc: Wilson celebrates scoring the opening goal
Faroe Islands: Nielsen, Naes, Justinussen, Faeroe (Jacobsen 61), Baldvinsson, Hansson, Benjaminsen, Samuelsen, Udsen (Hansen 61), Holst, Edmundsson (Elttor 79). Subs not used: Rene Joensen, Holm, Mikkelsen, Hansen, Ellinsgaard, Karl Lokin, Bartalsstovu, Sorensen, Klaemint Olsen, Kristian Joensen.
Scorer: Hansen 68.
Rep of Ireland: Westwood, Coleman, O'Shea, O'Dea, Wilson, Brady (Cox 45), Andrews (Meyler 90), McCarthy, McGeady, Keane (Long 80), Walters. Subs not used: Forde, Ward, Clark, McShane, Kelly, Fahey, Clifford, Randolph.
Scorers: Wilson 46, Walters 53, Justinessen (og) 63, O'Dea 88.
Ref: Lorenc Jemini (Albania).
There was a brief flurry after Faroes
substitute Arnbjorn Hansen reduced the deficit with a 68th-minute
header, but Pol Justinussen's own goal and an 88th-minute Darren O'Dea
header dashed home hopes.
It had been a tumultuous few days for
Trapattoni and there was another twist even before kick-off when it was
confirmed that the post-match de-brief he usually holds with the media a
day after a game, and which had been planned for Wednesday evening in
Dublin, had been cancelled with the manager due to fly straight back to
Football Association of Ireland chief
executive John Delaney refused to discuss the matter as he sat
stony-faced in the crowd before kick-off and as he left after the final
whistle having applauded the team off the pitch.
The Republic ran out knowing the 90
minutes ahead might prove crucial in more than one way with their hopes
of World Cup qualification facing significant damage if they did not
emerge with three points, and Trapattoni's future hanging in the
Having ordered his players to forget
the horrors of Friday evening, Trapattoni handed 20-year-old Manchester
United winger Robbie Brady the task of improving the supply lines to
returning skipper Robbie Keane and his strike-partner Walters.
Doubling up: Jonathan Walters is grabbed after making it 2-0
Brady certainly added some vigour
down the right and might have unlocked the Faroese defence on several
occasions during the early exchanges.
Having picked out O'Dea with an early
corner the defender could not direct at goal, the midfielder cut inside
to curl a left-foot shot just wide of the far post, and he was also
involved in the move which should have led to Ireland taking a
Brady played a corner short to Aiden
McGeady, who clipped it in to Keith Andrews, who had lost Rogvi
Baldvinsson at the near post, but failed to hit the target with the goal
at his mercy.
The Bolton midfielder clasped his
head in his hands, knowing a glorious opportunity had come and gone and
although several more arrived before the break, none was better than the
one which had just gone begging.
High risers: Aiden McGeady tussles with Simun Samuelsen
Walters headed over from McGeady's
22nd-minute cross and then forced a save from keeper Gunnar Nielsen six
minutes later after Andrews had flicked on Keane's cross.
However, as the half wore on without the deadlock being broken, the home side grew in confidence and exerted genuine pressure.
Keeper Keiren Westwood had already
had to claw away Daniel Udsen's cross as it threatened to drop over him
and under the crossbar when he saw O'Dea throw himself into the path of
Joan Edmundsson's 38th-minute shot after Christian Holst had opened up
the Irish defence.
Trapattoni withdrew Brady at
half-time and replaced him with striker Simon Cox, and although the
opening goal arrived just 43 seconds after the restart, it did so from
an unexpected source.
Back to winning ways: Robbie Keane celebrates
Wilson picked up possession wide on
the left and cut inside before unleashing a 30-yard effort which flicked
the head of full-back Jonas Naes and flew past the helpless Nielsen and
into the top corner.
In an instant, the tension lifted and
Ireland began to play with the confidence of knowing their qualifying
campaign was back on track, and they increased their lead within seven
On this occasion, Wilson turned provider, crossing from the left for
Walters to head firmly towards goal, where Keane did enough to put off
Nielsen, but not enough to justify his claims that he had got the final
The LA Galaxy striker might have added his name to list of scorers with
56 minutes gone, but dragged his left-foot effort just wide of the far
post with the Faroes buckling.
Getting the point across: Ireland fans spell it out to Giovanni Trapattoni
But just as it looked as though the Republic had the points wrapped up,
they allowed Naes to make ground down the right and cross for Hansen to
climb above John O'Shea and head firmly past Westwood.
However, hopes of a fightback were dashed within five minutes when, with
the Faroes pushing for an equaliser, Walters broke into space down the
left and sent in a cross which McGeady could not reach, but Justinussen
turned into his own net.
O'Dea's 88th-minute header capped a comprehensive victory and perhaps –
but only perhaps – gave Trapattoni a little breathing space.