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Football

Partisan Lyon expected to roar France to victory over Ireland

Martin O'Neill is hoping to lead Ireland into their first European championship quarter-final.
Martin O'Neill is hoping to lead Ireland into their first European championship quarter-final. Reuters/Uefa

In London there’s an allowance paid to certain workers such as police and teachers designed to help them remain in the capital due to the higher cost of living. ‘London weighting’ has been around since 1920. For France’s match against Ireland on Sunday in ‘Lyon weighting’ seems to be in operation.

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The 59,000 seat stadium in the city will have just under 5,000 seats designated for Ireland fans as their team tries to reach the last eight at the Euros for the first time.

"It's totally disproportionate for a stadium of this size," said Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. "For us, or any team that was going to be playing in the round of 16 here, to be allocated less that 5,000 tickets is, I think, pretty unfair, honestly."

Vocal backing in a partisan cauldron won’t be the only aide to France’s progress. Didier Deschamps’ side advanced to the last 16 last Sunday while Ireland only secured qualification on Wednesday night with a dramatic 1-0 victory over Italy in Lille.

“You have to take rest into consideration,” said O’Neill. “That was always going to be the case with us starting off late in the competition so we knew we would face this problem if we did qualify.

“We have to cope with it and get on with it. If the players have recovered and can show the same zeal and energy that they did against Italy, then we will be up for the game.”

While Ireland are debutants at this stage of the Euros, France have often been at this stage of the competition. They have won the competition twice and were beaten in the last eight in 2012 by the eventual champions Spain.

Deschamps, who captained France to the title at the Euro 2000 championships, said he would not underestimate Ireland. He also discounted Ireland’s thirst for revenge over Thierry Henry’s handball in 2009 which led to France’s winning goal during a play-off for the 2010 World Cup.

"It belongs to history," said Deschamps. "We have decided to forget about it," added O'Neill.

Hardly surprising. For O’Neill and his side there are latter day injustices to negotiate.

 

 

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