Search icon


27th Mar 2023

Martin O’Neill says Ireland should have ‘thrown caution to the wind’ sooner in France match

Simon Kelly

Martin O'Neill criticizes "suicidal" pass leading to France goal

The French came out narrow victors after Josh Cullen’s poor pass was snatched up by Benjamin Pavard.

Former Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said that Josh Cullen’s misplaced pass was ‘suicidal’ as it led to France’s goal in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier on Monday night.

The midfielder played short a pass outside Ireland’s box, where Benjamin Pavard was on hand to steal away and blast the ball past Gavin Bazunu for what turned out to be the winning goal.

O’Neill also suggested Ireland should have attempted to ‘throw caution to the wind’ earlier in the game than they did.

“It’s just after halftime, they have thwarted France so that’s fine,” O’Neill said on Viaplay. “So you want to just get yourself into position… there, it’s kind of suicidal really. I don’t know. Please, whatever you do, you’re in that position there, you got to be looking forward.

“Don’t be looking sideways just outside your own penalty area. It’s highly dangerous from any team. I know Bazunu made two decent saves in the first half – but overall that was probably France’s first shot on goal. So they have conceded. Things change now obviously after that, and while we have a grandstand finish,

“I think perhaps maybe throw caution to the wind a wee bit earlier than that. That would be my own thought.

Comparisons to 2017 Denmark match

The former Ireland manager said Kenny’s team needed to take more risks when they were behind, referencing when his own Irish team lost 5-1 to Denmark in 2017.

“For instance, in my game against Denmark, never to be forgotten, we’re down 2-1 at half time, we have to score two goals in the second half, and really the side I had at half time probably wouldn’t have been constructive enough to score two goals, so you take the chance.

“You put on Wes Hoolahan, you put on Aidan McGeady – you know that physically you’re going to lose an awful lot, the next goal is going to count in the game, and we conceded and obviously fallen. But I don’t mind, I honestly don’t mind. It doesn’t matter if you concede three or four, you’re trying to qualify for a competition, you have to take a gamble at some stage.”

Ireland piled on the pressure late on at the Aviva, but an acrobatic save from French keeper Mike Maignan denied Nathan Collins’ header and Ireland a point.

Related links

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?