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Match Analysis: Poland 0-0 Republic of Ireland

Sports Mole analyses the international friendly between Poland and the Republic of Ireland in Poznan, where the visitors remained unbeaten under Martin O'Neill.

Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland produced an organised and resolute defensive display to secure a respectable 0-0 draw with Poland in Poznan tonight.

Ireland were hoping to build on the 3-0 victory over Latvia in O'Neill's opening game, but could not find the same goalscoring form in a match of few clear-cut opportunities at the Municipal Stadium.

Stephen Kelly missed their best chance, a header which bounced into the ground and over the crossbar, but they kept Robert Lewandowski and company quiet at the other end to stay unbeaten under O'Neill.

Below, Sports Mole analyses whether the result was reflective of the action at the Municipal Stadium.

Match statistics:

Poland:
Shots: 11
On target: 4
Possession: 54%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 18

Ireland:
Shots: 9
On target: 1
Possession: 46%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 17

Was the result fair?

After Ireland enjoyed the better of the first period, Poland came to life a little after the break and had prolonged periods of the ball and pressure in the Republic half. They rarely cut the visiting defence open, though, and the organised and brave display by O'Neill's back line meant that they were worthy of a draw.

Poland's performance:

The Poles were starved of the ball by Ireland's hard-working midfield in the early stages and their first-half attempts to break at pace were largely thwarted. Lewandowski was unusually quiet up front and, in fact, it was after the striker's withdrawal on the hour mark when they looked the most threatening, with Jakub Blaszczykowski taking the attacking responsibility on his shoulders and nearly forging a couple of openings. He was the standout performer among Adam Nawalka's men.

Ireland's performance:

There are more positives for O'Neill and Keane to take after this display. Paul Green impressed in midfield. There were good performances across the defence, with Marc Wilson very aware of players making runs off Lewandowski, while John O'Shea made a number of vital blocks at the heart of Ireland's rigid back line. However, they were lacking any creative alternatives to Aiden McGeady and most of Shane Long's good work was done with his back to goal. Ireland are a work in progress.

Sports Mole's man of the match:

Aiden McGeady: The Republic may finally see the best of the talent winger under O'Neill's management. He was shackled by the defensive style employed by Giovanni Trapattoni, but was given more freedom tonight and shone, creating problems for the Polish defence whether he went down the line or cut inside. Ireland lacked any attacking outlet after McGeady left the field on 60 minutes.

Biggest gaffe:

John O'Shea's incredibly blatant handball - he virtually caught it as Lewandowski lifted it over his shoulder - was unnecessary and could have been more severely punished on another day or in a competitive international. It was a let-off for the Sunderland man two minutes after he came off the bench.

Referee's performance:

The referee took the title of friendly to heart and was very lenient with his decision making. He could easily have produced red and not yellow for O'Shea's handball and an awful high-footed challenge from Michal Pazdan on stand-in Ireland skipper Jonathan Walters.

What next?

Poland: Like Ireland, they do not have a World Cup to prepare for, so it is back to domestic duty for the likes of Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny, and their Dortmund duo, Blaszczykowski and Lewandowski, who face Bayern Munich in a massive Bundesliga showdown this weekend.

Ireland: Next up for the Irish is a home friendly against Serbia in March, but before then attention will turn to the draw for Euro 2016 qualifying, which takes place in France in February.

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New announced Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane speak during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 5, 2013
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Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

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