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Ireland-France: A World Cup decider

Anyway, where to watch the match on Wednesday? I would like to locate a decent Irish commentary for the game, I don't think I could handle the bias on French television's crassiest channel, TF1. France and Ireland do not play each other every day, and despite Ireland's progress over the years in football, some lazy journalists here continue to paint up the Irish as a firey, unruley bunch of guerriers.

Not that Sky television, the other likely choice in Paris, is objective. On the other hand, not sure I want Sky either, smugly patting us on the back if we lose...look on the bright side, lads, there's always Engerland...actually, we want to win, right? So, maybe a victory on TF1 would be sweeter...

French folie

I have always loved French football, since the 70s anyway, and though they have not impressed in recent games, Djibril Cissť has been on fire. I watched him at Auxerre and emailed loads a blokes about him. I even called into Auxerre to buy a Cissť jersey, forgetting that Auxerre are not Juventus and have zilch branding, but they offered to iron the letters on for me. I politely declined.

Still, despite all this affection for les bleues, tribalism rules the day and I will be going hoarse for the lads. I will never forget 1977, Liam Brady scoring the only goal against France. A large banner was being waved about Lansdowne road: Giles does not ware frenchies...

Can we do it this time? Not sure who Ireland has up front, who we are missing. It will be tough, but so was the match v Holland a couple of years back, and we won that against the odds, putting the Dutch out of the World Cup.

Two good results will be either a win or a scoreless draw. A score draw would give France an advantage in the group, for if we tie on points at the end of it, France will clinch it, as we failed to score in Paris. Cruel.

But we are not there yet, far from it. Can Ireland send Zidane and co. crashing back to earth? Or will France be able to achieve what it has been unable to since the Euro 2000: a convincing series of wins against good opposition? Let's see Wednesday.

©RJ Doyle 9/05

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