Ireland lost 1-0 to Argentina tonight. So RTE will analyse why Kilbane isn’t Zidane and Keane isn’t Messi. But what else happened at the stadium? I mean how were the Mexican waves? What about the PA announcements? Or the queues for the toilets?
Well, it was a better atmosphere than last week’s turncoat fest of Irish people backing United all the way. I was in the South Stand, right beside the Boys in Green, aka die hard supporters who travel the world and make up Trap’s Army. They keep the crowd going, singing from start to finish. They make songs about everything. My favourites being:
- Ohhhhhh Trappatoni, he used to be Italian but he’s Irish now
- We all live in a team of Gary Breens
- Zinedine Kilbane
- Oh Ah Paul McGrath
- Ole Ole Ole
- There’s only one Robbie Keane
The Mexican waves were pathetic. The South Stand tried to start them in the second half, but they struggled to make the corner flag. I didn’t hear a vuvuzela either. There was a bell and a drum, but that was it.
The attendance was disappointing. Only 45,000 – compared to 49,000 for Man United last week it’s not great: why do more people go watch an English team than go see our national side play against one of the best teams in the world (including the world’s best player)? This apathy was summed up by the players introduction on the red carpet. Normally it’s the President or the Taoiseach. Today they were washing their hair or something. Not even the Lord Mayor could attend. So we got the DEPUTY Lord Mayor of Dublin. Fair play to him for clearing his schedule to attend.
There was one good Argentinian flag on view – “Senor Dunphy, Stuff You, Viva Maradona, Stuff the Bookies”. The other crowd favourite was when the big screen showed a shot of John Delaney, Johnny Giles and Michel Platini. Boos rung around the stadium, so the cameraman reacted on the fly and zoomed his lens in on Johnny. And the boos switched to cheers. Smart thinking. The cameraman also spotted a few other celebs: Ossie Ardilles and Kenny Daglish.
The Argentinian press were happy enough with the victory. Post-Maradona, they’re happy to move on from the German loss in the World Cup. The rated Ireland as a tough team but expected to win and did. While they put out a strong lineup, they really weren’t stretched with Messi and Di Maria able to pass the ball around at will.