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Main Listening Report: Euro 2012 Preview: Republic of Ireland

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On this week’s main listening report we look ahead to this summer’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. Since it is St Patrick’s Weekend we thought we would focus on the Republic of Ireland’s chances. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report. There is also a worksheet (see right) for learners who wish to improve their English.

 

Qualifying

Ireland came second in Group B two points behind Russia and so had to qualify via the play-offs. They duly did so in spectacular style dispatching a hapless Estonia side 5-1 on aggregate. It was not always so. At times it was painful, the 0-0 draw at home to Slovakia was a particularly bad night, while Irish fans still wonder how the team managed to escape with a point in Russia after being completely outplayed in the match. They did lose to the Russians in Dublin but that proved to be their only defeat in the campaign, one that saw them win away in Macedonia, Andorra and Armenia, as well as that play-off win in Estonia.

Key Players

Captain and record goalscorer Robbie Keane is the Republic’s talisman with an amazing 53 goals in 115 matches. Though nowplying his trade in the MLS he can still make an impact at the highest level as he proved on his recent loan move to Aston Villa. Experience is the key for the Republic side with five of the probable starting XI having more than 70 caps with Shay Given having 121, Damien Duff 95 and John O’Shea has 75, although manager Trapattoni may spring a surprise and use some of his younger players currently waiting in the wings: McCarthy, McClean and Coleman, though he will more than likely stick with those who helped the Republic qualify.

The Manager

Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni may be sometimes seen as a figure of fun but the 72 year old has a footballing CV that ranks among the best in world football: AC Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Benfica, as well as the Italian national team. He will be hoping that this tournament can be a little more successful than the last time he lead a side into the European Championships: his Italian side were knocked out in the group stage in 2004. Trap is nothing if not predictable: he will play a 4-4-2 system and if everyone is fit he, in fact everyone, knows what his starting XI will be. His experience will be invaluable, while his reputation as a lucky manager will be welcome by all the Irish fans.

Their Chances

In a group that includes Croatia, Italy and World Cup and European Championship holders Spain few would give ‘The Boys in Green‘ a chance but Trapattoni’s side tends to raise their game against the better teams. So in a group where teams are expected to take points off each other and few expect many goals then the Irish have a chance, albeit a slim one indeed. There is a fear that the team will be whitewashed and gain no points at all though we at languagecaster are going for two hard-earned points total and a glorious exit for Ireland.

Links

  • BBC Sport’s Profile of Ireland
  • Vocabulary

    dispatching: defeating, beating

    hapless: Very weak, easily beaten

    talisman : Lucky charm, main man

    plying his trade: To work, to play for a team

    two hard-earned points: Two tough draws

    whitewashed: Lose all three games, receive no points

    The Boys in Green: Nickname of the Irish team

    waiting in the wings: On the edge of the squad

    a figure of fun: People joke about him

    ranks among the best: Is one of the best

    his starting XI: The starting Eleven, the starting team

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