Republic of Ireland were lacking a Plan B against Croatia, according to Sky Sports pundit and former Ireland midfielder Lee Carlsey, but history shows they're capable of springing a surprise when it counts.
Last Updated: June 10, 2012 11:51pm
Opening defeat: Carsley feels Ireland were lacking a Plan B against Croatia
Predictable as Republic of Ireland are, it's been our strength in the qualifying campaign that we have been able to nick a goal and win. But when we go a goal down, we just need that Plan B, where we can change it and try something else. Unfortunately that wasn't meant to be tonight.
We looked like second best for the majority of the game. Even though the manager named the team yesterday, I think you could have named that team at Christmas. He's played the same team more or less throughout the whole campaign - 4-4-2, compact, difficult to beat, with the reliance on Robbie Keane getting a goal.
Unfortunately we played that deep tonight, the gap between the midfielders and the forwards was just too big for them to make up. Whenever we did go forward we couldn't sustain an attack because we were that deep.
The likes of Aiden McGeady, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane - they're our most creative players. At times McGeady and Duff played like full-backs they were that deep, which was unfortunate because they'll come off the pitch frustrated that they haven't created more chances or had more of the ball.
I'm not trying to tell Giovanni Trapattoni what to do, by any means, but I thought the substitutions were a bit strange. If you want to change a game and put someone different on, I think the way James McClean has been playing at Sunderland suggests he can do that.
I thought it was unfortunate on Kevin Doyle, who didn't really do much wrong. He didn't get any service, so I couldn't tell you if he did bad or good. He didn't get much of the ball. He caused Vedran Corluka and Gordon Schildenfeld a few problems.
It's important that we keep a good shape, especially when we're not on the ball, but we need to play with a little bit more risk. If we are going to play deep, as soon as we win the ball back we need to spring forward and attack a little bit quicker.
Croatia looked confident right from the start, they looked like they had a game plan. I would be surprised if Slaven Bilic plays the same team against Spain or Italy, I think he targeted the Irish game to get three points. But that's probably why he took so long to pick his team, thinking about how he's going to do it, and it's paid off for them.
We've got history, especially in these competitions, of pulling something out the hat. I wouldn't rule out us beating Spain or beating Italy but having said that, looking at Spain and Italy tonight, they both look like they're playing with a lot of confidence. That was a really open game.
Trapattoni will stick to what he knows and what the team knows best. It's too late, you don't go into a tournament and experiment while the tournament is going ahead. All the preparation has been done now. The players will just have to do Plan A better than they did.
It's going to be difficult but you'd rather be at the tournament playing against these teams than sitting at home watching it.
European Championships Group A
European Championships Group B
European Championships Group C
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European Championships Group D
Rep of Ireland v Croatia
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