International Preview and Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs England

Competition: International Friendly – Republic of Ireland vs. England

Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland – Sunday, June 7 – 13:00 BST

Match Odds: Ireland 11/4 – Draw 23/10 – England 1/1

Match Preview

Republic of Ireland welcome England to the Aviva Stadium on Sunday as the two meet in an international friendly in Ireland for the first time in 20 years.

The Green Army earned a draw the last time the two met back in 2013 at Wembley. They have lost just one in their last seven outings and look in good shape.

Ireland need to be high in confidence after this game and a win will no doubt help them. They face Scotland next weekend in a European Qualifier and they are hard pushed to qualify from a very tough group.

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This is the first time the sides have met in Ireland since the infamous night in 1995 where the game was abandoned just before the half-hour mark due to violence in the crowd.

England are unbeaten since their poor performance in the 2014 World Cup and have won seven of the eight they have played since last summer’s tournament. They are currently top of their European Qualifying group with five wins in five.

Roy Hodgson will be hoping for a good performance from his side in this tie before they travel to Slovenia on June 14 to continue their qualifying campaign. The England manager has given his squad a bit of a shake up and this is a great chance for him to experiment with some new faces.

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Team News

The Ireland squad is full of familiar faces as LA Galaxy‘s Robbie Keane, Shane Long, Aiden McGeady and Jonathan Walters will all expect to feature. Defender Paul McShane sat out their training session on Monday after he suffered a cut on his leg.

Roy Hodgson is expected to give debuts to Charlie Austin and Jamie Vardy after rewarding them with call ups. The two will more than likely get some playing time in friendly with Hodgson able to test out some different combinations. Fabian Delph missed training on Thursday after picking up a knock in the FA Cup final but he is expected to be fit. Adam Lallana was the only other player absent after spending some time at home following the birth of his second child. Tom Cleverley has been called up as a replacement for the injured Ryan Mason.

Key Points

Republic of Ireland’s last five: W/D/L/W/D

England’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: Ireland haven’t lost to England since 1985, winning one and drawing four over the past 30 years.

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Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The England captain remains just two goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s England goalscoring record and he will be hoping he can break it within the next two games.

Score Prediction

Republic of Ireland 1-2 England – The Three Lions to have just a little too much for Martin O’Neill’s side in a game where both teams have the chance to play with freedom. It should be a tense affair but goals are to be expected in Dublin on Sunday.

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Robbie Keane hints MLS move has hindered his international career

Robbie Keane will turn 35 in July and is still turning out great performances for both club and country.

But the LA Galaxy striker has hinted his MLS move may not have helped his international career and believes he has himself to thank for still featuring for the Republic of Ireland.

Keane’s comments were reported by the Daily Star ahead of his countries’ drama-filled European qualifier against Poland last night as they equalised in stoppage time to grab a share of the spoils.

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“Has the Galaxy helped me? I’m not too sure. I think I’ve helped myself because of the way I keep myself and the hunger and the desire that I have.

“It’s okay having the ability, but if you don’t have the hunger and the desire, wanting to play and wanting to still be the best and wanting to still score goals, you’re not really going to do too much.”

The Galaxy skipper is more than happy to run himself into the ground before retiring and happy that he is still playing at the top level.

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“I still have that and I have always had it since I made my debut the first day, and nothing has changed since then.

“I’ll stop playing and stop scoring goals when literally I can hardly walk. That’s how much I love playing, it’s fairly simple.”

Has Robbie Keane’s career been hindered by moving to MLS with LA Galaxy?

Robbie Keane eyeing up managerial role after playing career ends

LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane has no plans to hang up his boots just yet but he has spoken of his desire to stay in the game he loves as a coach when he does eventually retire.

The Republic of Ireland international has set his sights on one day managing his country but wants to ease his way into the coaching lifestyle by first becoming an assistant manager.

“It is something I would be interested in,” Keane said. “A few years down the line, it would have to be. I’m not going to get something like that at the start, like anything, it depends what opportunities you get. You don’t walk into jobs. You have to establish yourself.

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“The last year or so I have been doing my coaching badges. The reason I am doing them now is that if an opportunity does come along and I am finished playing, then I can look at it.

“Maybe going in with a manager as an assistant because I have a lot to offer on the training field in terms of sessions I know players will like,” he added.

“When you are an assistant manager, you have to be in between the players and the manager. You have to have the relationship where you can sometimes go to those players who don’t feel comfortable going to the manager.”

The LA Galaxy captain is a natural leader and showed that as he led the Galaxy to their fifth MLS Cup title in December, netting the winning goal in extra-time.

He could start his coaching career in MLS with the Galaxy as he is already a leader to the younger players in the squad. The Irishman has scored 69 goals in 115 appearances for the reigning champions in all competitions and has recently helped Gyasi Zardes develop into one of the league’s most lethal attackers.

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Keane could step into management alongside his current manager, Bruce Arena in Los Angeles but his ultimate goal is to return home to manager his country.

The 34 year old is Ireland’s all-time leading goalscorer and also holds the record number of caps for his nation so there would not be many people better equipped to lead the Boys in Green.

“Would the ultimate goal be to manage Ireland? Maybe one day, yeah. It is something I would be interested in. A few years down the line, it would have to be.”

Would Robbie Keane make a good manager when he retires from the game?

Mix Diskerud refusing to rule out MLS move

USMNT midfielder Mix Diskerud is open to the idea of moving to Major League Soccer in the upcoming months as he is set to move to a new club as a free agent.

His contract at Rosenborg ended recently and that means that Diskerud is ready for a new challenge, with MLS an option he is “open to”.

“I don’t know [about the future], but I’m excited. I’m open for anything right now. I have my people to talk to and discuss options, so we’ll see what happens. But I’m holding all options open right now,” he said after last night’s 4-1 friendly loss to the Republic of Ireland.

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The 24-year-old Norwegian-American scored the USMNT’s only goal of the game last night but he failed to shine, along with many others in a poor USA performance.

Don’t miss: 5 Takeaways from the USA’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Ireland

There were lots of scouts in Dublin last night watching Diskerud, according to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman and interest in the player should be fairly high.

At 24, Diskerud has everything ahead of him and he is a player that has shown glimpses of brilliance. But he has failed to consistently perform and missed the chance to impress in the two friendlies over the past week.

A move to MLS would allow Diskerud to grow in confidence and he is surely excited by the prospect of being the latest American import into the fastest growing league on the planet.

He almost joined the Portland Timbers two years ago, and has been linked with a switch to Columbus Crew this year.

Bundesliga clubs are also said to be interested and a fight for his signature could be set to take place.

Wherever he ends up, Diskerud will be an intriguing signing and a move to MLS would undoubtedly be exciting.

Where do you see Mix Diskerud signing this offseason?

5 Takeaways from the USA’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Ireland

The USMNT capped off the 2014 schedule in poor fashion, losing 4-1 to a weakened Republic of Ireland side in Dublin, making it four games without a win – the worst run of form in Jurgen Klinsmann‘s tenure.

Klinsmann has come under some pressure as a result, but the performances on the pitch are what’s costing the team at the moment, and the long rest before the next international game leaves much to work on.

Defensively, USA looked as vulnerable as they have ever been against Ireland, while they failed to capitalise on some good spells of possession at the other end.

One game (or run of games) cannot take away from what has been a remarkable year for US soccer. But the manner of the defeat tonight will leave a sour taste in fans’ mouths until the next time a ball is kicked.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. Concentration levels are a major concern

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The deeply concerning trend of conceding late goals continued against Ireland as the USA let in two in the final ten minutes to put the game out of reach. Those two goals mean that the team have now conceded 11 goals in the final ten minutes in their last 11 games. Whether it’s fitness or focus, Klinsmann must address this issue urgently to ensure things change in 2015.

2. Defensive frailties are being exposed too frequently

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Klinsmann shuffled his defence once again for the game against Ireland – a fair move in a friendly as that’s ultimately what they are for, but it backfired greatly. Fabian Johnson looked better and his place in the side is not under threat. Timothy Chandler failed to impress at left-back and his chances must be running out. The major problem was in the heart of defence as Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron looked vulnerable throughout.

Besler has looked exhausted since the World Cup and needs an extended break to recover, whereas Cameron is making too many mistakes in the centre of defence and should be deployed elsewhere. The Jermaine Jones-John Brooks partnership used against Colombia looked solid and needs to be used again come next year. But things are far from certain in defence.

3. Mix Diskerud missed his time to shine

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Diskerud had the chance to impress the nation in the two friendlies but failed in both. He grabbed the goal against Ireland but that was a tap in from close range and his inability to influence the game from midfield is a worry. He is a free agent in January and has been linked with moves to MLS among other leagues. There were believed to be up to 15 scouts watching him tonight but he didn’t exactly take his chance to shine against an average Irish side.

4. Bobby Wood a bright spark

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Bobby Wood gave at least one positive to take from the game as he looked lively and energetic when brought on at halftime. He made a great chance for himself in the second-half but saw his one-on-one agonisingly saved by Shay Given. Wood looks like a player with a bright future if he can work on his finishing, and his ability to bring others into play make him a valuable member of the team going forward.

5. Bill Hamid needs more time before being handed a starting role

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The DC United goalkeeper cannot be blamed in any way for the loss, but he didn’t look as convincing as Brad Guzan does between the sticks and needs to be introduced more gradually now if he is to eventually take the starting job between the sticks. There was little he could do about the deflected goal and the wonderful free-kick, but he could have been off his line quicker for the first goal, and will be disappointed with how easily the second was scored. Hamid is the man for the future, but that is not now, and he needs time to work with the national team.

What did you make of the USA’s display against Ireland?

Preview and Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs USA

USA will complete their 2014 schedule on Tuesday night when they travel to the Aviva Stadium to take on the Republic of Ireland in another international friendly.

They will be looking to bounce straight back from the defeat to Colombia on Friday night and a positive result will be essential, with a strong performance to match high on the agenda.

Ireland will be without their all-time leading goalscorer in Robbie Keane, as he was released on Saturday in order to prepare for his upcoming MLS playoff matches with the LA Galaxy.

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[Ireland and LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane will not feature against USA on Tuesday as he was released from the squad]

Furthermore, Jurgen Klinsmann has released four MLS-based players from duty in order to increase game time for those not involved in the playoffs.

Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones, DeAndre Yedlin and DaMarcus Beasley have all been sent home following the loss to Colombia. Nguyen and Jones need to prepare for New England Revolution’s push for the Eastern Conference title, while Yedlin will be with Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders as they look ahead to their clashes with the Galaxy.

Klinsmann has not called anyone else up so he will go into the Ireland game with a 21-man squad and several players will be hoping to impress.

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[Jurgen Klinsmann looks on from the dugout at Craven Cottage during the USA vs. Colombia game]

The last time the two sides met was in April 2002, just prior to the FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. The game ended in a 2-1 win for the Republic of Ireland.

As much as this is billed as a friendly, both teams will want a result, as Ireland will be looking to regain a bit of form following their loss to Scotland, and the USA will be hoping to build towards the 2015 Gold Cup – which they are hosting.

This should be a good game, possibly open and end-to-end, but we expect that the USA will come out on top.

They played well against Colombia on Friday, and have enough quality to end 2014 on a high – something Klinsmann will be desperate to do.

Predicted USMNT lineup: Brad Guzan, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, John Brooks, Greg Garza, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman, Julian Green, Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood.

Key Player: Kyle Beckerman – Was influential on Friday night and provided cover for the USMNT when they were going forward. Expect him to anchor the US midfield once again.

Key Stat: USMNT forward Rubio Rubin would have been only three months old (18 years ago), the last time the USA beat Republic of Ireland.

Score Prediction: Republic of Ireland 0 – 2 USA

Robbie Keane: The goal machine

The playoffs are now fast approaching and other than their defeat last weekend, LA Galaxy have been in a superb run of form going in to it, so they will be full of confidence.

They have lost just 3 of their last 24 games and went on a 10-game unbeaten run from 29th July to 5th October.

LA Galaxy’s last 24 games: Played 24 – Won 15 – Drawn 6 – Lost 3

Much of the attention for their achievements so far this season have focused on club legend, Landon Donovan, and rightly so.

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But with all eyes on Donovan, it’s allowed forward, Robbie Keane, to go about his business quietly but extremely efficiently.

He is the Galaxy’s top goalscorer with 19 and is the third highest across the entire MLS this season, behind only Red Bulls record-chaser Bradley Wright-Phillips (25 goals) and Dom Dwyer (21 goals) of Sporting Kansas City.

The Irishman has contributed an almost record-breaking 33 goals this season (19 scored – 14 assisted).

The record for most goals contributed in one MLS season is currently held by Chris Wondolowski when he notched 27 goals and 7 assists for San Jose Earthquakes in 2012, making it 34 in total.

Other notable efforts were that of Jason Kreis – he contributed 33 goals (18 scored – 15 assisted) for FC Dallas in 1999.

Cobi Jones, also of LA Galaxy, contributed 32 goals (19 scored – 13 assisted) in the 1998 season.

Most goals contributed in an MLS season

  • 34 – Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) – 2012
  • 33 Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) 2014
  • 33 – Jason Kreis (FC Dallas) – 1999
  • 32 – Cobi Jones (LA Galaxy) – 1998
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It all means that if Robbie Keane can either assist or score one more goal in his last two games, he will equal the record for most goals contributed in any MLS season – two more goals would see him set the record.

It comes as no coincidence as his maiden voyage in Major League Soccer saw him play a hand in 25 goals when he scored 16 and set-up 9 in the 2012 season.

The 2013 season saw him involved in 27 goals with 16 scored and 11 assisted, so he has been very consistent for three years running now and it certainly deserves a mention.

Will Robbie Keane set the record for most goals contributed in an MLS season?