RTÉ soccer analyst Didi Hamann branded Ireland's first half performance in their 2-1 loss to Norway "pathetic" and sharply criticised Stephen Kenny's post-match comments defending the display.

Ohi Omoijuanfo's 84th minute goal condemned Kenny's side to another defeat, their fourth across nine games in 2022, a disappointing follow-up to Ireland's uneven September window.

Reacting at half-time in the RTÉ studio, Hamann was highly critical of what he regarded as Ireland's aimless, "pedestrian" first 45.

"I've seen some bad stuff over the years but this is as bad as I've seen from that Ireland team over the years," the former German international said.

"It's pedestrian, it's slow. They talk about possession. You've got to penetrate! Because when you don't penetrate, you don't work the opposition.

"Out of this 292 passes, they've probably had 250 in their own half. That's got nothing to do with keeping possession. Playing the ball around the back - it's not football. You need to have a purpose.

"Norway showed that when they do have the ball, they penetrate, they play forward, they've got a purpose."

"Out of this 292 passes, they've probably had 250 in their own half. That's got nothing to do with keeping possession. Playing the ball around the back - it's not football. You need to have a purpose.

While Ireland increased their tempo in the second half, Alan Browne drilling home a 70th minute equaliser from distance, the home side. for all their possession, still lacked any incision in the final third and the Norwegians snatched back the victory in the closing minutes.

After the game, Hamann was left incredulous at Kenny's post-match interview, in which the Ireland manager flatly denied there was a "lack of urgency" in the first half.

"If you accept performances like this in the first half, how do you expect it to improve? He said there wasn't a lack of urgency in the first half. Well, what was it then?

"He said of Sunday's game (against Malta) that every international game is important. Well, they didn't approach that game tonight as if it was important.

"He must have watched a different game to what I saw and we saw.

"The first half was pathetic. That's how bad they were. And he's defending play like this?

"And if you don't set standards, if you don't tell the players, this is not good enough, how are they ever going to change?

"The first half was as bad as I've seen. And if you don't set the standards high, then the team is never going to improve."

The 2005 Champions League winner poured cold water on any notion Ireland had of advancing in a World Cup group containing France and Netherlands.

"Ireland never managed to finish in the top-two with Serbia and Portugal. When Portugal drew here, a draw was as good as a win. Because they still needed a point against Serbia in the last game. I think in Ireland, people said they can compete with Portugal and got a bit carried away.

"So, they couldn't finish in the top two with Serbia and Portugal. Now, you've got France and the Netherlands. Do you believe they'll finish in the first two?"