If the FAI ever needed a model to base their grassroots and youth policies on, look no further than Belgian football.
Having failed to qualify for a major tournament since 2002, the Belgian authorities took drastic steps to improve the quality of all aspects of their footballing set-up.
They enforced the 4-3-3 formation on every side throughout the various international levels and worked closely with the Belgian Jupiler Pro League sides to make sure there was a concentration on producing young home-grown talents as opposed to foreign imports.
Much like Germany, Belgium have harvested a crop of genuine world class players from the seeds of abject failure and will go into next year’s World Cup as one of the favourites.
One can only wish that those in power at Merrion Square have the same patience and intelligence.
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