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Ireland 'cannot afford to lose'
27 Mar 2015 11:11
Former Ireland internationals Mark Kinsella and Graham Kavanagh have warned that losing to Poland on Sunday would be devastating to Ireland's Euro 2016 qualification hopes.
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"We have to win on Sunday. I don't think Germany will lose another game," Kinsella, who won 48 caps for Ireland, told a special Game On Aviva Fan Studio on Thursday.
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"We need to take points off Poland, and Scotland when we play them again it's going to be tough. For us to progress, I think we need the three points."
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Sixteen-cap winner Kavanagh thinks avoiding defeat is as important as winning but insists Ireland have nothing to fear against group leaders Poland.
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"With the way the group is shaping up, we can't afford to lose at all," he said.
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"Getting beaten 1-0 by Scotland and probably not playing as well as we're capable of, was disappointing, but it's an opportunity to bounce back now.
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"We've got a tough game on Sunday against a very good team, who have shown well in the campaign so far, but we've proven in the past that we're more than capable of matching the bigger teams at the Aviva. Hopefully that's the case on Sunday."
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Poland beat world champions Germany 2-0 with a masterclass in counter-attacking football in October and Kinsella warned that Ireland must be wary of the dangers of over-committing men in attack.
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"We've got to be patient. If they're going to sit back and try to hit us on the break, which they did against Germany..." he said.
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"The crowd will know that, the players have to know that and you've got be careful when you are going to take the game to them.
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"If that's their strength, you could be a goal down after 10 or 15 minutes.
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"We have to take the game to them but very cautiously and not get stung on the counter-attack.
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"As long as we're still in the game with 60/70 minutes gone, we'll create chances and then it's just a matter of taking them."
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Kavanagh agreed with his former team-mate and warned that Ireland fans will need to be patient.
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"The key on Sunday is staying in the game as long as we can," he said."
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"If the expectation of the fans is to come and be entertained with expansive football, full-backs overlapping, we will get done on the break. "If it gets to 75 minutes and it's still 0-0, don't panic. A set-piece could decide it as we saw in Hampden Park."
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