The Ireland team that should start our crucial Euro 2024 tie with France
Will it be another famous night at the Aviva Stadium?
Back-to-back World Cup finalists, that is the test which awaits Stephen Kenny's youthful Irish side on Monday night as they kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign in the most difficult of fashions.
Ireland have not qualified for a major tournament since Euro 2016, and with two consecutive failures in attempting to reach one coupled with uninspiring UEFA Nations League campaigns, this qualifying group could be make or break for the Ireland manager.
Confidence is not exactly high within the Irish camp, following yet another perplexing display on Wednesday night against minnow opposition in the world's 133rd ranked side, Latvia.
The Boys in Green eventually eked out a 3-2 win, and played some fine football in the opening half an hour, but the concession of two more goals against such meagre opposition put somewhat of a dampener on the previously buoyant mood around the Irish squad.
One cause for optimism amongst Irish fans though is the likely presence of 18-year-old striker Evan Ferguson leading the line for Ireland, with the Brighton attacker proving to be one of the few positives from the drab Latvian clash.
Scoring on his first senior start for his country, Ferguson has ratcheted up the sense of belief to an even greater extent that he could in fact be the answer to Ireland's long-held goalscoring problems.
New addition Mikey Johnston was another who shone despite the poor collective team performance on Wednesday night, with the Vitória winger producing a lively display in his 30 minute debut cameo and potentially causing a selection headache for Kenny in the process.
Others who impressed on the night included 23-year-old debutant Will Smallbone, who was the only notable performer in a disorganised Irish midfield, but a start against the French may be step too far for the Stoke playmaker.
The French perspective:
Didier Deschamps side will travel to Dublin missing a number of first team players through injury, with the likes of Arsenal centre half William Saliba and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba sidelined.
In the wake of their World Cup heartbreak in Qatar, a number of players also announced their retirements from international football. World Cup winning captain and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was one, alongside Manchester United centre half Raphael Varane.
Squad harmony may also be fractured as the French visit Dublin, following the news that Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann felt disrespected by Didier Deschamps decision to hand over the vacant captaincy to the side's 24-year-old talisman, Kylian Mbappé.
First up for Les Bleus though is the challenge of World Cup quarter finalists, the Netherlands, who travel to Paris looking to take advantage of a what could potentially be a new-look France side.
Ireland manager Stephen Kenny will surely be keeping a keen eye on proceedings at the Stade de France, as he plots his side's route to claiming yet another famous scalp at Lansdowne Road.
On what is set to be a raucous occasion at the Aviva Stadium on Monday night, here is our Ireland team selection to halt Kylian Mbappé and the star-studded playing cast which supports him:
Our Ireland XI:
1. Gavin Bazunu
2. Callum O'Dowda
3. Dara O'Shea
4. Nathan Collins
5. Seamus Coleman
6. Matt Doherty
7. Jayson Molumby
8. Josh Cullen
9. Jason Knight
10. Chiedozie Ogbene
11. Evan Ferguson
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