Back stick!

Ireland are convinced (or are playing like they’re convinced at least) that they can exploit France’s weaknesses in Paris tonight and qualify for next Summer’s World Cup. This would involve them winning in France for the first time since 1937, and not missing open goals like the one Liam Lawrence missed at the weekend.

‘They concede a lot of goals from corners and set-pieces,’ said profligate Tottenham striker Robbie Keane. ‘We know they're vulnerable at the back. Unfortunately we didn't get too many set-pieces in Dublin but, hopefully, that will be different this time. I certainly believe there is a twist in this tale. It's been a decent campaign but it will mean nothing if we don't produce now.’

It’s not just Keane who thinks set pieces are the key, despite the fact that Ireland are a titchy team and France are quite solid at the back. Richard Dunne thinks an aerial bombardment is the way to go too.

‘We just felt that any of our balls going into their box didn't make them look very comfortable,’ he said. ‘That has to be the game plan in Paris.’

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