Monday, July 6, 2009

Champion's Challenge: Ireland 3 Chile 0

Ireland 3 (John Jermyn 3) Chile 0
John Jermyn’s hat-trick of set-pieces were the upside of what was otherwise a pretty disjointed Irish performance against Chile this evening at Belfield. Indeed, a more accomplished side than the tournament’s bottom-ranked side would surely have made more of the chances that presented themselves with David Harte by far the busier of the goalkeepers.

He pulled off four corner saves while he came off his line speedily on a couple of occasions to snuff out impending danger. The upside for Ireland, though, is that though they only created five clear chances they scored three and hit the post twice.

Jermyn nailed the first shot in anger in the eighth minute after a cagey start, converting himself after manufacturing the corner on the endline.

The early lead failed to settle Ireland, however, and a series of misplaced passes and weak control on the ball gifted Chilean star man Felipe Montegu free runs from the halfway to penetrate the circle.

Alexis Berzcely missed a gilt-edge chance when left one-on-one with Harte four yards out but his weak reverse-scoop dribbled wide.

Ireland’s attacks were always more incisive. Eugene Magee won a second corner for Jermyn to double the advantage in the 29th minute and when Matias Amoroso was sin-binned for an off-the-ball incident, the hosts seemed to have broken the shackles.

A superb break-out between Jermyn, David Hobbs and Mikey Watt - earning his 50th cap - ended with Jermyn skimming the outside of the post. But it was one of two rare moments of fluidity as the South Americans dominated the early stages of a pretty shapeless second half.

An awful mix-up between Ronan Gormley and Joe Brennan in the right apex of the circle left David Harte stranded only for Tim Lewis to come up with a last-ditch intercept.

The ensuing play exposed the difference between the sides. Chile’s profligacy contrasted with Ireland’s capitalising on a loose pass. Jermyn latched onto the ball and within one pass Magee was one-on-one. He was unceremoniously hacked down and Jermyn duly completed his triple from the spot.

A second flowing move saw Stephen Butler play in David Hobbs to batter off the inside of the post before the game petered out in the final 20 minutes.

Lewis was sin-binned - possibly more due to an increasing number of dodgy tackles rather than his particular effort - as Montegu lobbed the ball delicately across the front of the goal while Krainz had two more drag-flicks booted away by Harte.

Speaking about his first ranking game in charge, Paul Revington was not pleased with his side's performance: "I am very disappointed with the overall performances as we set ourselves higher standards. We will have to perform at a consistently higher level for longer periods tomorrow if we are to end up on top against Japan."

* For more of Adrian Boehm's photos from the Ireland vs Chile game, click here

Group A Standings (points/goal diff): 1. Ireland 3pts (+3), 2. Poland 3pts (+1), 3. Japan 0pts (-1) 4. Chile 0pts (-3)

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