Kazakhstan v Ireland Player Ratings
Kazakhstan were oh-so close to being added to the Hall of Shame that includes Cyprus and Macedonia. While the manager will rightly bear the brunt of the abuse after this baffling, and undeserved, win, the players appeared unwilling, or unable, to play like we know they can as individuals until the very end. We escape Astana with all three points but the dreadfulness of the performances as a whole cannot be overlooked.
Keiren Westwood – 5
Can’t be blamed for the goal and made a smart save to prevent us going two down before the break. Made another great stop with quarter of an hour to go. Booted the ball like Jonny Sexton on steroids. It didn’t work but we guess Trap will be happy.
John O’Shea – 3
Got forward a bit but never did much when in Kazakhstan half. Like all the defence, shaky for much of the game.
Darren O’Dea – 4
Another who didn’t do anything egregiously wrong but as a member of a defence that almost lost to a team 116 places behind them in the Fifa rankings, he can’t get any higher mark.
Sean St Ledger – 4
Another who booted the ball long at every opportunity rather than play it to McCarthy or Whelan. May have been operating under instructions but still, should have tried to mix it up. Got his head to a few dangerous free-kicks though, probably saving us conceding a second.
Stephen Ward – 3
Gave away a needless foul on Konysbaev that led to the Kazakh goal and never looked comfortable against a team that we should be beating handily.
Simon Cox – 4
Played out of position so we will cut him some slack but bar one smart bit of interplay with Walters in the first half, never looked like an international player. Was hauled off for Kevin Doyle before the hour mark.
Glenn Whelan – 4
Spent most of the game looking up as the ball ballooned over his head. Was muscled out of it in the middle once too often too and the blame for the Kazakh goal by Nurdueletov can be laid at the Stoke man’s door. Managed a shot on target in the 74th minute, our first for 71 minutes.
James McCarthy – 5
Had Ireland’s best effort on goal after three minutes, forcing a good save from the Kazakh keeper and looked like he might create something if given the ball more often. He wasn’t on this occaision but he at least showed some invention when on the ball.
Aiden McGeady – 5
Probably our best player over the 90 minutes and sent in a few tasty crosses and dead balls. Being the best Irish player on show tonight, though, is damning with the faintest of praise.
Robbie Keane – 4
Was given almost nothing to work with and might have been awarded a penalty in the first half but was no threat when he did get the ball to feet. Began the unlikely comeback with a cool penalty that he won, though.
Jon Walters – 4
Won as many long balls as expected but rarely directed them into a dangerous area or towards another white shirt. Offered more on the wing than Cox but still failed to deliver even one telling cross before being called ashore shortly afterwards for Shane Long.
Kevin Doyle (58 mins) – 6
The Wexford man’s introduction for Cox added a brief spark but he was soon dragged down to the level of the others until he saved the day at the death. His cross led to the late penalty and then he slammed home the face saver. Has to start the next day now, right?
Shane Long (70 mins) – 3
Came in for Walters and became the third Irish forward to play on the wing while James McClean sat on his arse. Ineffective.
Manager – 2
Giovanni Trapattoni’s tactics were described as stone age in the RTE studio and it is hard to disagree. By all known measures we are a better team than Kazakhstan but they looked far more accomplished. Ultimately his introduction of Doyle turned the tide but this pitiful display is another stain on the Italian’s record, despite the win. The Trap Out campaign was already gathering considerable speed before this debacle and while the result may save his skin for now, this was the last satisfactory three points since the San Marino win under Stan and we all know how that ended.