By Sean Creedon
The greatest soccer show in the world kicks off in Paris this evening without an Irish team for the first time in 20 years
In 1978 and 1982 Northern Ireland carried Irish hopes, while The Republic had the nation on a high in 1990 and 1994. Ireland’s only contribution to the World Cup this year will be Cork assistant referee Eddie Foley, who will be making history as the first FAI official to run the line in the World Cup Finals. Northern Ireland referee Alan Snoddy has refereed World Cup Final games in the past.
So now we will have to sit back and support England or Scotland? Scotland, who play Brazil in the opening game this evening, have a great record in qualifying competitions, but have never gotten past the first round. England had their problems in the run-up to the finals. Manager Glen Hoddle has brought in a faith healer for his players, but he has omitted the unfit Paul Gascoigne. Gazza has had his problems of late and was fond of nights out on the town. England don’t have a class midfielder to replace him. They have looked poor in their warm-up games and could be home after the first round or they could well make the semifinals.