Brady - Ireland can upset France
Liam Brady insists Ireland's draw with Italy has given them belief ahead of their games with France.
Last Updated: 13/11/09 9:27am
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Liam Brady insists their draw with Italy has given them belief ahead of their crunch matches with France.
The nations are battling it out over two legs in the coming days to see which team secures a place in next summer's prestigious World Cup finals in South Africa.
France are the favourites to book their place in the tournament, however, Brady feels Ireland can cause an upset, starting with Saturday's first leg at Croke Park.
Ireland were seconds from toppling world champions Italy in their recent World Cup qualifier and the 53-year-old insists Giovanni Trapattoni's squad have learned from their mistakes.
"I don't think you can predict how a game is going to go but we would dearly love - and I think it's very possible - to go to Paris with a win under our belts," said Brady.
"I know it's been maybe a long time coming to defeat one of the top nations but the Italian game has given us great confidence and also taught us a couple of lessons that we need to take into this game.
"We conceded a goal against Italy from a set-piece, which we weren't happy with, and then we didn't hang on to our lead when we took it with a few minutes to go.
"We have learned big lessons from that game. We have learned that, if we can so nearly beat a team like Italy, we can do the same to France."
Raymond Domenech's squad is packed with talent that extends far beyond the likes of dangermen Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka and Karim Benzema.
However, Brady insists there will be no fear in the Irish camp: "We are worried about them all and we are not worried about any of them!
"We respect them. Obviously, Mr Domenech has his choices to make on which players he plays up front.
"He has several really strong front players but we can go on about France all day - it's about what we do, and our players have a great belief in what we are doing.
"There is an understanding of what game we have to play against the French and that's what concerns me most of all.
"We stick to that and we concentrate on that.
"There's a really good team spirit. They know what their jobs are, each and every one of them, and there's a belief there that, if we stick to our gameplan, we can qualify for the World Cup."
Aston Villa ace Richard Dunne acknowledges that many see Ireland as the underdogs, however, there is a strong belief in the camp that they can overcome the odds.
"There's no doubt France will be the favourites in everyone else's but our eyes," said Dunne.
"If they underestimate us, if they come to Croke Park and think they are going to be allowed to just pass the ball around the pitch and walk their way to South Africa...
"If all they know about us is that fighting spirit, well then we will have to come out fighting.
"We have got the belief. Obviously France have all the flair and all the skill and everything.
"But we believe there's nobody in the world who can match us for work-rate and effort and fighting spirit and Croke Park.
"That's us, that's the way we are. We have the likes of Robbie Keane and Damien Duff, but if you look at the squad as a whole, we are a tough team to beat and that's basically down to the team spirit and the attitude of the players when we go onto the pitch."
Aiden McGeady is expected to cause problems for France and while some of Domenech's squad have resorted to trash talking, the Celtic star is remaining tight-lipped.
The 23-year-old is happy to let his football do the talking and is desperate to fulfil his dream of playing in next summer's World Cup finals.
McGeady stated: "You would never hear any of the boys in our camp having a go at the French team, even though if they were the same team they were a couple of years ago, they would have qualified in first place.
"But I am not going to get into a war of words with the French team because they are filled with top, top players and they could go and destroy any team on their day - but hopefully not on Saturday or Wednesday.
"As you are growing up, you dream of playing at a World Cup, and some of the boys have been lucky enough to play at one already.
"I just want to be part of that. I just want to do it on the world stage, and everybody else in the squad is in the same boat as me."