The Republic of Ireland take their 100% start to their Euro 2016 campaign to Germany, with the hosts aiming for a response to their shock defeat to Poland.
It did not take long for Martin O’Neill’s side to dispatch the minnows of Gibraltar on Saturday, with record scorer Robbie Keane scoring a hat-trick inside the first 18 minutes. What will have also pleased the manager was the ruthlessness of his team, with four further goals added after half-time to register their joint highest ever margin of victory.
They now travel to Gelsenkirchen to face a Germany side that has looked decidedly shaky in its opening two qualifiers, with the international retirement of Philipp Lahm perhaps one of the reasons behind their struggles. The Irish can take great inspiration by the manner in which Scotland took the game to them back in September, and even more so Poland’s success on Saturday.
It was humbling loss as well as unexpected for the World Cup winners, who fielded some inexperienced players in their starting XI. Joachim Low has promised a backlash, but he must be concerned as the display in Warsaw showed little resemblance to the ones which won them the ultimate prize in July.
Jonathan Walters is likely to return for an Ireland side that could make changes for what is set to be a much different test to the one they face against Gibraltar. Meanwhile, Christoph Kramer has added to a German injury list which already includes Marco Reus and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
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