Give me 0-0 with 20 minutes to go, says Mick McCarthy ahead of Switzerland game

Mick McCarthy has admitted he will be thrilled if the Republic of Ireland are locked at 0-0 with Switzerland with 20 minutes remaining of their Euro 2020 qualifier.

Ireland will take to the field in Geneva on Tuesday evening knowing a win would guarantee their place at next summer’s finals.

They will do so three days after collecting their latest point from a disappointing goalless draw in Georgia in which they very nearly snatched victory with a late Aaron Connolly-inspired assault.

Aaron Connolly impressed in a late cameo against Georgia
Aaron Connolly impressed in a late cameo against Georgia (Steven Paston/PA)

Asked if the game would be like the Alamo if it was scoreless as it entered the final 20 minutes, McCarthy replied: “I sincerely hope with 20 minutes to go, that is the case.

“If you consider the way the results went, our point against Georgia looks like a good point, strangely enough.

“It’s put us in this position that if we win tomorrow night – and it’s a big if – we qualify and if we don’t, we have Denmark (at home next month). I sincerely hope with 20 minutes to go that it’s 0-0 or 1-1.”

Republic of Ireland take on Georgia on Tuesday
Republic of Ireland take on Georgia on Tuesday (Steven Paston/PA)

Switzerland have made a habit of conceding late goals in the campaign – three of them to draw at home to Denmark, one to concede two points in Dublin and another as they lost in Copenhagen on Saturday – although McCarthy knows he cannot rely on another repeat.

He said: “Well, I hope that’s the case. I’m sure it doesn’t happen in every game.

“I watched the game the other night and Switzerland were excellent, they were the better team. (Kasper) Schmeichel made three world-class saves to keep them in the game.

“Isn’t it funny, you probably think that because you are talking about the Swiss team, they’ve made a mistake. Denmark had a goalkeeper that made three world-class saves.

“Then Denmark had a player who picked a pass, who is capable of picking that pass – that’s why Real Madrid have been courting him, (Christian) Eriksen.

“How he saw it is beyond me and how he executed it is beyond me, and then the finish was great from (Yussuf) Poulsen, who is very, very good player. That happens in games, but they were far and away the better team, Switzerland.

“But I’ll just add a caveat to the answer – being the better team before the game and being the better team during the game doesn’t guarantee you the points.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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