Byline: KEN GORMAN
IRELAND head for their World Cup showdown against Germany fuelled by the message from Wales manager Mark Hughes: "Blind them with pace!"
And Hughes believes speed merchant Damien Duff, his club colleague at Blackburn over the past two seasons, is the man who can unlock that German defence.
"Damien is very sharp and very quick," said Hughes (right). "Just like our own forward players Robert Earnshaw and Simon Davies."
They were two of the Welsh stars at the Millennium Stadium in midweek, when the mighty Germans tumbled to a 1-0 defeat that was a massive dent to their morale before they head for the Far East this week. "The German defence was pretty solid and they have arguably the best goalkeeper in the world behind them in Oliver Kahn," said Hughes.
"But they still found it very difficult when they had players like Earnshaw and Davies coming at them at real pace. You could see that Earnshaw, in particular, was clearly causing them to lose their composure.
"It was only his first cap but the little fellow has lightning pace. That won't only unhinge the Germans - it frightens any defender in the world. "Pace is a a key word in football nowadays, especially at international level. …