This week’s main report looks at the World Cup play-off match between Ireland and France. Listen to our Irish football correspondent, Brendan, discussing whether Ireland can cause a huge upset and make it to South Africa 2010. The transcript can be found below, while vocabulary support can be found for the words in bold at the foot of the post.
Once FIFA decided to move the goalposts late in the World Cup qualifier campaign and seed the play-off draw, football fans here in Ireland greeted the draw with fear and trepidation. In the end those fears were realised when Stephen Piennar drew the name of France out of the bowl, made more difficult when we discovered that we’d have to play the second leg in Paris.
The French squad was announced during the week and the names in it trip off the tongue… Gallas, Sagna, Evra at the back… Diarra, Toulalon in midfield and the likes of Anelka, Henry, Benzema up front.
What chance do we have when you compare players? If we did qualify for the World Cup, there’d hardly be a slew of kids around the world, rushing to get their Sean St Ledger, Keith Andrews and Glenn Whelan stickers for their shiny new World Cup albums.
And yet and yet… we clutch at straws. Firstly, because we’re football fans and that’s part of the contract. But also because we look at the respective dugouts.
In the green corner, Signour Trappatonni, the man who’s been around as long as St Patrick and who has done it all before…and in the blue corner… Monsieur Domenech, the French coach who picks his players based on their zodiac signs and whose most significant act during their dismal showing in the European Championships was to propose to his girlfriend live on TV – he’s still waiting for a reply by the way.
Spies at Irelands training camp this week say that Trappatonni is making his players practice penalties. We know that no stone will be left unturned, and we know that the level of organisation that the Italian has brought to the squad so far has enabled us to go unbeaten throughout the campaign.
Will it be enough? Well, it shouldn’t be and the super-power that is France should progress but the beauty of sport is that nobody fully knows. It’s a leap of faith, so off we go to Croke Park this Saturday night and in Trap we trust.
to move the goalposts: To change the rules
trepidation: Extreme worry, fear
the second leg: The second of two matches to decide the winning team
trip off the tongue: The names are so well known
a slew of: A lot of, many
we clutch at straws: To be very optimistic, hopeful (with little reason)
respective dugouts: Here: the two managers
St Patrick: The patron saint of Ireland
no stone will be left unturned: he will make sure that nothing is left to chance, be well prepared
Croke Park: The national stadium of Ireland