This morning an Irish Radio Station played a snippet of Kermit the Frog singing It's Not Easy Being Green and that pretty much summed up the mood of the people around me. After last nights performance in Poznan it's not easy being an Irish fan.
I don't mind so much that they lost, patriotism aside the reality of the situation was Ireland is the underdog of the group, but it was the manner of that loss that hurt the most. If you are going to play a defensive game that's OK so long as your defensive players step up and get between the opposition players and the goal. Instead there were moments when the ball seemed to be rolling around the Irish penalty box with Irish players staring at it afraid to take responsibility and kick it away. Our attack wasn't much better, passing the ball around afraid to take responsibility themselves and have a shot. Keith Andrews seemed to be the designated kicker on the night as in fairness to him he did have a few shots but they all flew away from goal like a beach ball being kicked into a hurricane.
We can point to the referee for a couple of bad decisions, a Croat goal that should have been offside or a free out and a penalty for Ireland that could have seen the score change from 3-1 to 2-2 but if that had happened the Croats would have been right to feel robbed and I doubt the score would have finished at 2-2 more likely 4-2 in their favour. They outclassed us and we were lucky they didn't score even more. That said their defense looked shaky at times and their goal keeper did not strike me as very solid, they will struggle against Italy and Spain with players who want to score.
The 20,000 fans who travelled for the game deserved better. The video of grown men in tears should be shown to the players this morning and they should be asked if this is the memory they want the country to take from these championships. They are better than they showed last night. No one expects them to qualify from the group anymore but they can at least show up in the Spain and Italy games. I'll still be wearing green and shouting for them, the whole country will.