ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT, the Republic of Ireland beat Latvia 3-2 in the Aviva Stadium in a warm-up game before their crucial match against France on Monday.
Ireland had several standout players in the victory over Latvia, including Brighton & Hove Albion sensation Evan Ferguson, Stoke City's Will Smallbone, and Celtic's tricky winger Mikey Johnston.
The game had its positives but also its negatives, as does every Ireland game under Ireland head coach Stephen Kenny.
Ireland blew a 2-0 lead to a side ranked 133rd in the world but did manage to win the game in the end.
A significant defensive improvement is needed for the challenge of Kylian Mbappe and France next week.
Ireland's know fthat winning against the three-time world champions could ignite life into their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.
This week former Ireland midfielder Stephen Ireland was kind enough to give up his time to The Irish Post about Euro 2024 Odds to talk about the upcoming France game, what he thinks of the Stephen Kenny in-and-out talk, and what he considers success would be for Ireland in their Euro 2024 group.
Stephen Ireland on Stephen Kenny: “Sacking him doesn't mean the grass will be greener.”
Much debate has rumbled about whether Stephen Kenny is the right man to lead the Ireland team from now on.
After not reaching Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup finals with Ireland, Kenny's time with Ireland must bear fruit in Euro 2024.
As of March 2023 Stephen Kenny's win percentage with Ireland is 29.03%. A number that should be far higher than in many people’s eyes.
Many argue that the former League of Ireland boss should get the time to lead Ireland to the following European Championship finals in Germany. Still, Ireland believes that his former country should 'persist with him and give him time.'
"Personally, I like him. I like what he is trying to do. I like his staff," said Ireland to The Irish Post.
"He's been given time but sacking him doesn't mean the grass will always be greener.
"You have to give him another couple of years, and let's see if it does help develop these young Irish players.
"To be fair, it has been inconsistent, and it has been tough, and that would be the case for anyone who takes the job.
"I think you need to let the younger players find their feet first and then judge him at the end of it."
Stephen Ireland on what Ireland can do to hurt France on Monday
Ireland faces an ominously arduous task against Didier Deschamps's side on Monday.
Deschamps has an exceptional record at the head of the national team with 89 wins, 28 draws, and 22 losses in 139 matches, [with] 279 goals scored and 119 conceded.
Not only that, but the French also have some of the best players in the world at their disposal.
Across the park, they have some of the best talents in the world. Some of these players include the likes of Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe, Atlético Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, Real Madrid's Aurélien Tchouaméni, Eduardo Camavinga, and many others.
Ireland's last win over France came back in a FIFA World Cup qualifying game on October 14, 1981.
However, Ireland has produced their best performances for the more powerful nations and has achieved positive results in the past.
Ireland v Germany Shane Long's famous goal against Germany and Robbie Brady's header against Italy in Euro 2016 are recent examples.
Ireland believes this young Irish side has the minerals to do it, but the task will be challenging.
"It's going to be tough, and they have a massive squad of talent. It is going to be a real tough game," Ireland added.
"Ireland, though, always has a knack of outfighting and outbattling people. They seem to find a way, especially in the second half of games.
"It's just trying to frustrate them and keep them quiet, and if Ireland can keep it 0-0 in the last 15-20 minutes, they have a chance.
"There will be chances. There always are. It's just what you can do to keep France at bay because they have so much speed, power, and talent."
Stephen Ireland on what success would be for Ireland in the Euro 2024 qualifying group
Ireland has been drawn into a challenging Euro 2024 group with the Netherlands, France, Greece, and Gibraltar.
It's widely expected that Ireland will not get out of their group ahead of the Dutch and the French.
The former Manchester City star Ireland believes that it is about time his home nation started getting to major tournaments from now on.
"I mean it's tough because the management has brought through new faces, and it is like they are experimenting a bit," the Cobh native added.
"For me, you kind of want to see that experiment stage take a backseat now, and I'd like him to figure out what his best team is.
"I know the country wants to win, and they are dying out for success with qualifying for tournaments.
"They have always been there and thereabouts, and there is always a chance, and they then fall away at the last hurdle,
"So, yeah, we need to be consistent. There is a style there, and I think now we have to start seeing results.
"I look at some countries, and I think, 'how are they there?’ And it is about time we start getting serious about getting to these significant tournaments."
Ireland's game against France starts at 7.45pm
You can catch that game live on RTE TWO
Some great moments for this young Irish team 🇮🇪
Focus: Monday 👀 pic.twitter.com/0kTD0hy2qs
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) March 23, 2023