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The upcoming match between Republic of Ireland and New Zealand on Tuesday evening will mark the conclusion of one player’s international career and potentially two others, as a challenging year comes to a close.
James McClean will be playing in his 103rd and final game for his national team, possibly marking the end of Stephen Kenny’s tenure as manager as his contract is set to end after the match.
In this article, the PA news agency examines various topics of discussion related to the match at the Aviva Stadium.
Return of the Mac
Since making his debut in February 2012, Wrexham’s McClean has been a distinguished representative for his country. He has played for Ireland in both the Euro 2012 and 2016 finals, and has filled various positions under different managers. Notably, he scored crucial goals in World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Wales, helping the Republic reach the play-offs for the 2018 finals. Although he was added to the squad for Saturday’s match against the Netherlands, McClean did not play and is expected to receive a warm farewell in Dublin.
, but it’s not
The belief is that it has concluded, but that is not the case.
The board of the Football Association of Ireland will discuss a potential review of the recent campaign at their meeting next week. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the outcome will be favorable for manager Stephen Kenny, who is currently without a contract. Despite being confident in the team’s potential for a better future, Kenny’s position is uncertain as there is disagreement on whether he should continue in his role. In the past three and a half years, he has given 26 players their debut in competitive matches after a significant overhaul of the team.
Kenny has been actively seeking new talent and has frequently turned to young players from Ireland’s under-21 team. Among them are goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, defenders Dara O’Shea and Nathan Collins, midfielder Jason Knight, and striker Evan Ferguson, who have all become regulars in his team. He may also give a first senior cap to Brighton midfielder Andy Moran, who is currently on loan at Blackburn in the Sky Bet Championship. This follows the trend of Kenny bringing in players from Jim Crawford’s squad to prepare for European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Norway and Italy.
Please provide us with a target.
After the loss in Amsterdam, Kenny openly acknowledged that his team’s lack of creativity and inability to score goals were major issues. Only seven of their nine goals during the qualifiers were scored in matches against Gibraltar, while group leaders France managed to score 14 goals against the same team over the weekend. The remaining two goals were from a Collins header off a corner kick in Greece and an Adam Idah penalty against the Dutch at Aviva Stadium.
Is everything white at night?
The All Whites, led by Darren Bazeley, will be arriving in Dublin after suffering a 2-0 loss to their Group B rivals Greece in a friendly match in Athens on Friday. This defeat adds to their poor record of only one win in the 12 games played since their World Cup qualification campaign ended in March last year. New Zealand has only qualified for the World Cup finals twice – in 1982 and 2010. In the 2010 tournament, they were eliminated in the group stage despite drawing with Slovakia, Italy, and Paraguay. In their most recent visit to Ireland in November 2019, they were defeated 3-1 in a friendly match where Derrick Williams, Sean Maguire, and Callum Robinson scored for the hosts.