The Republic of Ireland registered a thumping 3-0 victory over Scotland to open their account in the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League.
Both sides came into the encounter in Dublin on the back of contrasting results. While Scotland had beaten Armenia 2-0 in their only Nations League match before Saturday, the Irish were coming off consecutive 1-0 defeats to Armenia and Ukraine.
But Stephen Kenny’s side took an early hold on the match and didn’t allow Scotland a way back into the game. Alan Browne opened the scoring for them in the 20th minute, turning the ball in from close range before Troy Parrott doubled their advantage eight minutes later.
Michael Obafemi, who was playing just his third match for Ireland, scored with a thunderous effort from 25 yards out to seal three points for his side. Scotland threatened to come back in the encounter but they were wasteful in front of the goal and managed just two shots on target out of a total of nine.
The hosts were clinical to punish some poor defending from Scotland, who will want to move on from this result quickly as they prepare to face Armenia in just three days. On the other hand, Ireland will play Ukraine in Poland in their next Nations League assignment on June 14.
2 – In Michael Obafemi and Troy Parrott, the Republic of Ireland have had two players aged 21 or under score in a competitive match for the first time since September 1997 (Mark Kennedy and David Connolly). Future. pic.twitter.com/0LQRSsa08M
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2022
The Hard Tackle will now look at how players from both sides fared in the encounter.
Republic of Ireland
Caoimhin Kelleher: 7/10
A solid outing between the sticks for the Liverpool shot-stopper and a well-deserved clean sheet. He made two saves, confidently punched out a corner and manned his area well. He was a bit dodgy with his passing, however.
Nathan Collins: 7/10
The centre-back did exceedingly well to maintain a clean sheet and hand Ireland their first-ever Nations League win. He made four clearances, one interception and two tackles and also found himself in advanced positions on a couple of occasions.
Shane Duffy: 7/10
Duffy’s errors could have proved costly for Ireland but eventually, they didn’t lead to a goal. He was near-perfect in the air, however, winning almost everything. He was good at mopping up too, making seven clearances. The defender also blocked a shot and made two interceptions.
John Egan: 7/10
Egan went about his job quietly to cap off a solid outing for Ireland’s defenders. He won two ground duels and four aerial duels, made three clearances and two tackles and also blocked two shots.
Josh Cullen: 6/10
Josh Cullen shielded his defence quite well, playing as the holding midfielder in a 3-1-4-2 employed by manager Stephen Kenny. He kept away any potential danger by making four interceptions and as many tackles. He also played a key pass going forward but none of his six long balls found a teammate.
Alan Browne: 8/10
🇮🇪🆚🏴 The perfect first half for the Republic of Ireland…
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 11, 2022
Alan Browne bombed up and down the right flank, contributing on both ends of the pitch. He scored the hosts’ opening goal, turning the ball in from close range after Scotland failed to clear the danger. Defensively, he made a clearance, an interception and two tackles while blocking a shot as well.
Jayson Molumby: 7/10
Molumby looked assured on the ball and kept things simple in the middle of the park for Scotland. He completed 92% of his passes while winning four ground duels. He also made three tackles and played a part in Obafemi’s goal, winning the ball which eventually led to the strike.
Jason Knight: 6/10
Knight crowded the midfield for Ireland to help them win second balls. He clattered into Scott McTominay in the very first minute of the match and kept things busy throughout. He was taken off for Conor Hourihane in the 72nd minute.
James McClean: 7/10
McClean was quite influential with his set-piece deliveries. It was his corner that eventually led to Ireland’s opener. He played in a total of 11 crosses resulting in three key passes. He lost possession quite often, however, with there being 21 such occasions.
Michael Obafemi: 9/10
Michael Obafemi with a screamer to put Ireland 3-0 up against Scotland. 😍
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) June 11, 2022
Obafemi scored his first-ever international goal for Ireland, and quite a brilliant one. He collected the ball 25 yards out after Gilmour had lost in and let fly a thunderous effort past Gordon. He pulled a groin muscle soon after and was taken off for Scott Hogan. Prior to that, the centre-forward had also assisted Parrott’s goal, chipping the ball for his attacking partner to score.
Troy Parrott: 8/10
Parrott completed a solid day of work from the Ireland front-two. He scored Ireland’s second goal and also got the assist for Obafemi’s goal. He was taken off for Callum Robinson in the 85th minute with the hosts three goals to the good.
Scott Hogan: 6/10
Hogan came on for Obafemi and was quiet as Ireland were already three-nil up. He came close to scoring only for Grant Hanley to make a goal-line clearance.
Conor Hourihane: 5/10
Came on for Knight in the 72nd minute and managed to see off the remainder of the match safely.
Jeff Hendrick: N/A
Hendrick came on for Molumby in the 84th minute.
Callum Robinson: N/A
Robinson was brought on for Parrott in the 85th minute.
Craig Gordon: 4/10
Gordon had a horrible outing as he managed to make just one save while Ireland scored three past him. A tough night for the Scotland goalkeeper and one he would want to forget soon.
Jack Hendry: 4/10
Hendry was taken off at half-time after failing to have any sort of impact on the proceedings. He was decent on the ball but there wasn’t enough else to show for.
Grant Hanley: 6/10
Hanley made a clearance off the goal line in the second half to deny Hogan. He blocked two other shots and made a tackle. He needed to be stronger in the air, but failed at it, winning just two of his seven aerial duels.
Scott McKenna: 6/10
McKenna couldn’t do much as Ireland sent three past the visitors. In his 74-minute stay on the pitch, the defender made four clearances and a tackle. He was strong in the air, winning four of his five aerial duels.
Anthony Ralston: 7/10
Ralston was influential with his set-piece delivery and also sent in crosses at will. The right wing-back was probably the visitors’ best attacking outlet. He played two key passes as well, completed three of his five dribble attempts, and won eight ground duels and three aerial duels.
Scott McTominay: 5/10
The Manchester United midfielder struggled to impose himself on the Ireland midfield and couldn’t make a telling contribution defensively as the hosts scored thrice without reply. He didn’t come up with much going forward as well.
Callum McGregor: 5/10
A quite an identical performance to his midfield partner. McGregor looked clueless in the middle of the park at times and except for a shot that went off target, didn’t do much in the encounter.
Andrew Robertson: 5/10
The Scotland captain tried to push ahead for the visitors and create something but most of his crosses were wayward and he looked a fraction of the player that has been performing week in and week out for Liverpool over the past few seasons.
John McGinn: 5/10
McGinn had a night to forget like most of his Scotland teammates. All four of his crosses failed to find a teammate and he won just one ground duel. He took three shots in his 59-minute stay on the pitch but there wasn’t much else he created for his side.
Ryan Christie: 6/10
Played three key passes and drove forward with the ball at times. But there wasn’t any end product to show for. He was taken off for Jacob Brown in the 59th minute.
Che Adams: 4/10
Looked clueless up front and managed to take just one shot. He made just 13 touches of the ball before being taken off in the 59th minute.
"It was a poor team performance all round"
Steve Clarke reacts to Scotland's 3-0 defeat to Republic of Ireland, which saw his players booed at full time pic.twitter.com/kO2gLYLWOb
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 11, 2022
Billy Gilmour: 5/10
Gilmour came on at half-time as Scotland scampered to find a way back in the match. He lost the ball in the midfield which led to Obafemi’s goal. Otherwise, he was decent but the Chelsea youngster has had far better nights in a Scotland shirt.
Ross Stewart: 5/10
Stewart came on for Che Adams in the 59th minute and tried to make things happen for the visitors but to no avail. He took a total of two shots.
Jacob Brown: 4/10
Brown was one of the three substitutes that came on for Scotland in the 59th minute to change things around for the side. But he couldn’t influence the proceedings as much as he would have liked. He took one shot and made just eight touches of the ball.
Stuart Armstrong: 6/10
Armstrong came on for McGinn and was quite busy in the middle of the park. He played a key pass and looked composed on the ball, presenting himself for a pass readily to create something for the visitors.
John Souttar: 5/10
Souttar came on in the 74th minute for McKenna. He was strong in the air, winning all three of his aerial duels.