Lithuania’s coach has warned his players to be prepared to play Stephen Kenny’s Ireland side in front of a large crowd in Dublin tonight.
Few spectators attended Lithuania’s last game, a 2-1 away win against San Marino on Saturday, while just 1,800 spectators turned up to watch their last competitive game at home, a 4-0 loss to Switzerland in Vilnius im last year.
Their manager, Valdas Ivanauskas, has noted that 33,000 tickets have been sold for tonight’s game and while the away side has the support of the Lithuanian community in Ireland, the veteran knows home advantage could be crucial.
“We have to play these games, some of our players will be able to play in front of such a crowd for the first time. It won’t be easy, but we have a plan,” said Ivanauskas, whose tactics for the Ireland game were hampered by the absence of key players Linas Mėgelaitis and Paulius Golubickas through injury.
“If you want to achieve something, you have to play in stadiums like this one day. We’re going to try to calm them down a bit and we’ll see how we can do that.”
He also expected Kenny to make changes from the XI, who drew 2-2 with Belgium last week.
“In our opinion, some players from the Belgium game will definitely not play. It might be to our advantage, but maybe not because those players want to prove their worth,” he said.
“We know what to expect. Ireland are a very mobile and strong team and they have incredible fans. It’s going to be a really tough game.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/international-soccer/we-will-try-and-calm-them-down-a-bit-lithuanian-players-not-used-to-playing-in-front-of-a-big-crowd-41498550.html “We’ll try to calm them down a little” – Lithuanian players are not used to playing in front of a large crowd