Irish press calls Euro 2012 exit ‘end of an era’
Ireland’s newspapers said Tuesday the Irish football team’s third straight Euro 2012 defeat ended the misery but also called time on many of the players and the team’s tactics.
Some papers also drew comparisons between the “humiliation” on the European football stage of Giovanni Trapattoni’s side and the republic’s bailed-out, battered economy.
Their 2-0 defeat to Italy on Monday, with a last-minute goal by Mario Balotelli and a late sending-off for Ireland’s Keith Andrews, came after a 3-1 loss to Croatia and a 4-0 humbling by reigning champions Spain.
“End of pain, end of an era,” said the Irish Examiner.
“Pressing for the goal and the point which would have given them something tangible on the table to take away from an otherwise forgettable experience, their fragile world collapsed again.
“It had the look, to be honest, more of era’s end than tournament’s end for some of them.
“This was by some distance the most spirited and disciplined Irish performance of these Euro finals.
“Yet, even this improved display still wasn’t enough to prevent Trapattoni’s men - with three defeats on the spin and nine goals conceded - equalling the record for worst-ever performance by a team at the Euro finals.”
The Irish Times drew parallels with the country’s bailed-out economy.
“The Irish soccer team’s humiliation exposed the false pragmatism that rules our political life,” wrote Fintan O’Toole.
“What is the misery of Poland and Ukraine 2012 a metaphor for? A paradox: impractical pragmatism.
“What has been so ruthlessly exposed in the fantasy world of football is, as it happens, precisely the thinking by which we live in the real world. It is a way of behaving that looks exactly like hard-nosed, calculating pragmatism.
“Except for one little twist - it doesn’t work.
“Trapattoni’s awful football is the essence of impractical pragmatism.
“It reduces everything to numbers -- the final score -- that justify everything.
“Which is all very well except that, in the end, the only results produced by this ‘pragmatism’ are humiliation and failure.”
The Irish Independent paid tribute to the fans who supported their team to the last, despite Ireland being the first side knocked out of the tournament.
“One word easily sums up the mood of Irish fans in the stands last night - defiant,” it said.
“Defiance against circumstances since there was nothing to play for but pride.
“It would be wrong to say the result didn’t matter, but most people were realistic saying even a goal would do.”