World Cup '94 : WORLD CUP USA '94 / GROUP E PREVIEW : Ireland at a Glance

* COACH: Jack Charlton.

* KEY PLAYERS: Roy Keane, Tony Cascarino, Pat Bonner.

* STRENGTHS: The Irish might not be the most attractive team in the world to watch, but they have learned to perfection the art of harrying and disrupting opponents. Italy, Mexico and Norway will be given little chance to play with the ball. Keane and Cascarino are effective strikers. Bonner is the country's most-capped player and will need to be at his best.

* WEAKNESSES: The loss of striker Niall Quinn to injury was a huge blow to Ireland's hopes, but it has recovered well enough to upset both the Dutch and Germans in warm-up games. Like other teams from colder climes, the heat and humidity will trouble the Irish, especially since their average age is higher than most.

* WORLD CUP HISTORY: One previous appearance. Record of 0-1-4. Best finish was reaching quarterfinals in 1990.

* LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: Not one of Ireland's 22 players plays for a club in Ireland.

* OUTLOOK: Ireland is in an extremely difficult group, having to face Italy, which it has not beaten and which knocked it out four years ago; Mexico, whose style is likely to confound the Irish; and Norway, a physically bruising and defensive-minded side. The latter match could be the dullest of the tournament. It is possible Ireland could advance as a third-place team, but probably not.

* PREDICTED FIRST-ROUND FINISH: Fourth.

ROSTER

No. Name Position 1 Pat Bonner Goalkeeper 22 Alan Kelly Goalkeeper 2 Denis Irwin Defender 3 Terry Phelan Defender 4 Kevin Moran Defender 5 Paul McGrath Defender 12 Gary Kelly Defender 13 Alan Kernaghan Defender 14 Phil Babb Defender 6 Roy Keane Midfielder 7 Andy Townsend Midfielder 8 Ray Houghton Midfielder 10 John Sheridan Midfielder 11 Steve Staunton Midfielder 17 Eddie McGoldrick Midfielder 18 Ronnie Whelan Midfielder 19 Alan McLoughlin Midfielder 21 Jason McAteer Midfielder 9 John Aldridge Forward

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