Ireland’s Stephen Kenny plans positive approach in Euro 2020 play-off

  • Republic of Ireland face Slovakia in Bratislava on Thursday
  • Kenny: ‘One thing we want to carry is an attacking threat’

The Republic of Ireland have contested more European Championship qualification play-offs than any other country but even they have never faced a duel quite like Thursday’s showdown in Slovakia. If they win a tie postponed twice because of Covid-19, they will advance to a decider away to Northern Ireland or Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the potential prize would be a place at the rescheduled Euro 2020, where one of the host cities will be Dublin.

Mick McCarthy guided Ireland this far but the delays in staging the play-off cost him his chance to complete the campaign, the task now entrusted to Stephen Kenny, who has designs on doing it in a new way. He preaches an attacking, possession-based style that, he insists, Ireland can pull off. The manager knows that if his third match in charge does not yield the result he hopes, then he may face accusations of being too naive or idealistic. He is undaunted.

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