Republic of Ireland: Netherlands will be ‘as good as France’ warns Ogbene

Republic of Ireland: Netherlands will be ‘as good as France’ warns Ogbene

7 min

Republic of Ireland: Netherlands will be ‘as good as France’ warns Ogbene

Chiedozie Ogbene in action against Kylian Mbappe
Chiedozie Ogbene in action against Kylian Mbappe during the Republic of Ireland’s 2-0 defeat by France
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Sunday, 10 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary and report on the BBC Sport website

Chiedozie Ogbene has warned that the Republic of Ireland must expect the Netherlands to be every bit as good as France in Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualifier.

The Republic’s 2-0 defeat by the French in Paris on Thursday left them with just three points from four games.

A win over the Dutch in Dublin would resurrect hopes of potentially taking one of the top two spots in Group B.

“I think they [Netherlands] will be as good [as France]. We’ll take nothing for granted,” said Luton winger Ogbene.

Three points against the Netherlands would see Ireland draw level on six points with their guests and Greece, albeit the Dutch would have a game in hand.

Group favourites France are all but qualified with five wins from five and no goals conceded.

The Irish team’s only three points to date have come courtesy of a 3-0 win over Gibraltar, leaving Stephen Kenny’s side under pressure to produce against Ronald Koeman’s charges in Sunday’s encounter at the Aviva Stadium.

The 26-year-old Ogbene added: “The Dutch have good experience in this competition. We’ll do our homework and try and get a positive result because that is what we need right now.

“Nothing is over until it is over. We like to control our destiny. If we don’t get a positive result, it is out of our hands.”

The Republic were taught a brutal lesson at the Parc des Princes by the side ranked second in the world and had to defend for dear life to stay within touching distance.

The Netherlands are only five places worse off, while the Irish sit in 53rd place in the standings and the trip to Paris proved a bruising one.

However, Ogbene knows there is only so much time to reflect before minds have to focus once again.

He said: “It’s difficult for some players because everyone is emotionally engaged in this competition. We all want to qualify for Germany and do well for the nation.

“It’s not as easy as it says, just to move on to Sunday.

“After 24 hours, you have to move on because we have a big game. If we win that, we’re back in the running.”

Bohemians forward Jonathan Afolabi
Jonathan Afolabi has been in a rich vein of goalscoring form for League of Ireland side Bohemians

Forwards Sinclair Armstrong and Jonathan Afolabi have been called into the squad by Kenny to replace Brighton and Hove Albion striker Evan Ferguson, who pulled out of the squad earlier in the week because of injury, and Preston North End forward Will Keane, who suffered an injury in Thursday’s defeat.

Armstrong, who has scored one goal in five league appearances for QPR this season, has been promoted from the Republic Under-21 squad, while Afolabi has been in impressive form for League of Ireland outfit Bohemians this season, scoring 11 goals in 27 matches.

For a generation of Irish supporters, memories of a famous 1-0 World Cup qualifier win over a Dutch side which included Edwin Van Der Sar, Jaap Stam, Marc Overmars, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Patrick Kluivert at Lansdowne Road in September 2001 remain vivid and a repeat would hardly be more timely.

Kenny said: “I was a supporter in the crowd at that game. It was an unbelievable performance all right and a great win and a famous win, of course.

“That team was a really top-class Irish team. But from our point of view, that’s what we need to do. We have got to believe that we can put in the performance that can get the result we need.”

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