Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trappatoni described his team’s 3-0 international friendly defeat to Australia as a “severe lesson”.
Tim Cahill’s brace shortly before half-time, taking his international tally to 18 in 34 games, and David Carney’s wonder-strike from 30 yards dealt a psychological blow to Trapattoni ahead of their three remaining World Cup qualifiers.
The Italian coach believes the superior condition of Pim Verbeek’s side was the key factor in the visitors’ win.
“It was a severe lesson for us,” Trapattoni admitted. “I am a little bit disappointed like the team, but in pre-season this situation can happen.
“It is normal against a team that is 40 percent more fit. The players sometimes don’t understand that but in 30 years I know that.
“I questioned myself before how many players can play 90 minutes with a good performance.”
The lesson Trapattoni felt needed to be learned ahead of their World Cup qualifier in Cyprus on September 5 is likely to be a reference to the slack defending which left them two-down at the break.
In the 38th minute, Cahill took advantage of a two against two at the back, feeding Scott McDonald down the inside-right channel.
The Celtic striker passed back to the Everton midfielder 20 yards out and his low left-footed strike wrong-footed Shay Given to put his side in front.
Then a minute before the interval, Aiden McGeady lazily looked to take a ball in his stride on the left wing but was beaten to it by Rhys Williams who raced into box and turned Kilbane before firing a shot at Given.
The Irish keeper could only parry the ball back into the danger area and Cahill was there to power home.
Though 2-0 was flattering enough at the break, it could have been an even greater lead for the visitors had Harry Kewell not headed over Mark Bresciano’s free kick at the back post, after which the Galatasaray man pleaded for a penalty for Damian Duff pulling his shirt.
Verbeek was understandably delighted with his team’s performance though he admitted it flattered them a little.
“We played well defensively we were well organised, we won most of the first balls and were in control,” Verbeek said.
“We have players who work hard and have special abilities. I’m very pleased with the result, but I think 3-0 was too much.”
The nearest Ireland came to getting on the scoresheet was when substitute Keith Andrews’ low 88th minute strike from the edge of the area came back off Mark Schwarzer’s right post.
Prior to Cahill’s first strike, the game was an even affair with McGeady the best player on view. Twice midway through the half he created openings, moving inside from the left flank to set up Irish chances.
A measured cross-field ball enabled Duff on the right wing to cut inside the area onto his left foot, but Carney deflected his effort wide. ‘
Then a neat pass into the box found Robbie Keane, but after turning Patrick Kisnorbo well he was denied by Schwarzer.
Ireland created few chances in the second half with Stephen Hunt’s left-footed effort, after Robbie Keane’s neat backheel, which skewed wide summing up a very disappointing first international football game for the home fans at Thomond Park.
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