Soccer Scene

Preview: Republic of Ireland - Colombia
29.05.2008 at 20:00 - Craven Cottage, London

Giovanni Trapattoni goes in search of his first win as Ireland boss as the Republic get set to face Colombia.

The Italian's reign got off a shaky start on Saturday as Andy Keogh's last-minute equaliser secured a 1-1 draw with Serbia.

However, having welcomed some of his more experienced players back into the squad over the last few days Trapattoni will be hoping to go one better at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on Thursday.

He is facing a tough task, though, as the Irish have failed to win any of their previous seven international fixtures, while their South American opponents are currently brimming with confidence.

Colombia are unbeaten in their opening four qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup and have already secured a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Argentina.

They will also be buzzing from a 5-2 rout of Venezuela at the beginning of May and will be hoping to keep their momentum going ahead of a clash with European heavyweights France next Tuesday.
Attacking flair

Despite being in fine form, the visitors are unlikely to have things all their own way in Fulham as Ireland look set to name a starting line-up loaded with attacking flair.

Celtic's Aiden McGeady and Newcastle's Damien Duff look set to provide the ammunition down the wings, while Robbie Keane has been asked to fill the 'Francesco Totti' role behind Kevin Doyle up front.

John O'Shea is likely to be handed his first start under Trapattoni and should still be on a high having lifted the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United just eight days ago.

Crystal Palace youngster Sean Scannell will be hoping to make his international debut at some stage, while Dean Kiely makes a rare start between the sticks in the continued absence of Shay Given.


Colombia have a relatively inexperienced squad from which to choose, with only six members of their 22-man squad having won over 10 international caps.

The majority of their players ply their trade in South America, but European supporters may recognise Udinese's Cristian Zapata and Atletico Madrid's Luis Amaranto Perea.

Midfield duo Carlos Sanchez and Freddy Guarin are also European-based, representing Valenciennes and St Etienne respectively.

Meanwhile, Elkin Soto plays for FSV Mainz in the German second division and Juan Carlos Escobar is on the books of Russian outfit Krylia Sovetov.


H / A / N Matches W D L Goals + / -
H 1 1 0 0 1 - 0 +1
A 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 +0
N 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 +0
Total 1 1 0 0 1 - 0 +1

Date&time Comp. H / A / N Final score
29.05.2008 at 20:00 Friendly H 1 - 0
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