The Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for EURO 2020 are hanging by a thread after a 2-0 defeat at Switzerland last night.
A 0-0 draw away in Georgia on Saturday didn’t exactly inspire confidence, meaning Mick McCarthy needed a win on Tuesday. He took his side to Geneva to face Switzerland, knowing they needed to avoid defeat.
However, Switzerland ran out 2-0 winners. Haris Seferovic opened the scoring in the first half, before Shane Duffy’s late own goal sealed Ireland’s fate.
Seamus Coleman’s red card didn’t help matters in the second half, but Ricardo Rodriguez couldn’t score from the penalty spot. With that, Ireland now face a must-win date with destiny against Denmark next month.
North End had a couple of players in the Ireland squad. Seani Maguire was on the bench, whilst midfielder Alan Browne was handed a start after being a substitute against Georgia.
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Browne played the full 90 minutes, and was pressed into action at right back after Coleman’s dismissal. That kind of summed up Browne’s season, as he’s struggled to nail down a spot in the Preston side, but has filled in well at right back when needed.
The 24-year-old hasn’t been in his best form to start the season, and Ireland fans weren’t impressed last night. Some took to Twitter to suggest that he’s simply not up to international standard, and shouldn’t play for Ireland again.
That seems a little harsh, but there were a number of fans who don’t really know what Browne contributes, and was a waste of a jersey on a difficult night for Ireland.
It may well be that McCarthy hasn’t quite got the best out of Browne yet. His best football for North End has come as a number 10 breaking into the box, but that wasn’t really where he played last night. Hopefully Browne can find his best form soon, and prove to McCarthy that he deserves a regular role with the Ireland side.