Ireland's Chiedozie Ogbene predicts Netherlands to be strong in the Euro 2024 qualifier
Posted : 09 September 2023
Chiedozie Ogbene has cautioned that the Republic of Ireland should anticipate the Netherlands to be as formidable as France in their Euro 2024 qualifier. Following a 2-0 loss to France in Paris, Ireland has accumulated only three points from four matches. A victory over the Dutch in Dublin could revive hopes of securing one of the top two spots in Group B.
Luton winger Ogbene stated, "I think they [Netherlands] will be as good [as France]. We'll take nothing for granted." A win against the Netherlands would bring Ireland level on six points with their opponents and Greece, though the Dutch would have a game in hand. France, the group favorites, have virtually secured qualification with five wins from five and no goals conceded.
Ireland's sole three points to date came from a 3-0 victory over Gibraltar, placing Stephen Kenny's team under pressure to perform against Ronald Koeman's side in Sunday's match at the Aviva Stadium.
Ogbene, aged 26, added, "The Dutch have good experience in this competition. We'll do our homework and try to 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."
After a brutal lesson in Paris against the world's second-ranked team, the Republic had to defend vigorously to stay competitive. The Netherlands are ranked only five places lower, while Ireland sits in 53rd place in the standings.
Ogbene acknowledged that there is limited time for reflection before refocusing on the upcoming match. He stated, "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. After 24 hours, you have to move on because we have a big game. If we win that, we're back in the running."
Sinclair Armstrong and Jonathan Afolabi have been called up to replace Evan Ferguson and Will Keane, who withdrew due to injuries. Armstrong, with one goal in five league appearances for QPR this season, has been elevated from the Republic Under-21 squad. Afolabi, who has scored 11 goals in 27 matches for League of Ireland outfit Bohemians this season, has been in excellent form.
The memories of Ireland's famous 1-0 World Cup qualifier win over the Netherlands in September 2001 remain vivid for many Irish supporters. Kenny expressed the need for belief, emphasizing that the current team should aim to replicate that historic performance against the Dutch.