Tag: Republic of Ireland

Euro 2012: The Runners & Riders – The Republic Of Ireland

It’s almost a quarter of a century since the Republic of Ireland made their debut in international tournament football, when a first round exit in the European Championships was ameliorated somewhat by the pleasure of beating England in the group stages. Since then Ireland have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup finals twice, but 1988 has proved to be the country’s sole appearance in the finals of the European Championships until this time around. This summer, however, they are back but the scale of the task ahead of the team is massive, with both Spain and Italy in the same group as them. All, however, is not lost, especially when we consider that they’ve never embarrassed themselves in the finals of a major tournament before – no matter who the opposition – and could face opposition with a history of occasionally stumbling when expected to do better. The History: So, were Ireland under-achievers who found their level after 1986, or a relatively small nation (and one in which football was not, historically, the national game) that has made huge strides forward in recent years, particularly in the World Cup finals since the start of the 1990s? The answer to this question is probably a little from column A and a little from column B. Prior to 1988, despite occasionally generous sprinklings of very talented players, Ireland couldn’t get...

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Euro Moments: Ireland

This mornings cartoon for the run-up to the European Championships from Dotmund features Ireland, and a player that would go on to become one of British footballs most incisive pundits. Only joking. It’s Andy Townsend, really. Don’t forget, you can see plenty more Dotmund artwork here, and you can read his trenchant opinions on just about everything here. You can download the Twohundredpercent Euro 2012 spreadsheet here (for Excel 2007), whilst a version that will be compatible with older versions of Excel is available here. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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The Luck – And Occasionally Otherwise – Of The Irish

It was what I once erroneously called “the swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune.” The Republic of Ireland’s international football team were ‘done’ by a clear handball from France’s Thierry Henry in the 2010 World Cup play-offs two years ago. And in the last group game of Euro 2012 qualifying, Ireland’s opponents Armenia were ‘done’ by a clear ‘not handball’ from their goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky. The inevitable knee-jerk reaction is to suggest that the “things” which we are constantly told “even themselves up over time,” have done precisely that in this instance. And the fear is that this debate masks a more long-term debate about the quality of Ireland’s football… no, let’s be brutal about this, the almost total lack of quality of Ireland’s football. Comparisons between the 2010 injustice meted out to the Irish team and the injustice(s) from which they benefited against Armenia are subject to conjecture, of course. But a quick reminder of just what Ireland were ‘denied’ by Henry was required. The anti-Henry outrage has played tricks with some memories and enhanced the view that Ireland were denied a place in South Africa. This was not the case. Had Henry’s handball been penalised, the likeliest outcome of the match would have been a 1-0 win to Ireland, after extra-time. This, in turn, would have led to a penalty shoot-out, as France had won the first...

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World Cup Tales: Reflections Upon England In Italy, 1990

The concept of England having a high level of expectation at the time of a World Cup finals is a comparatively recent one. As recently as 1990, most adults could remember their two successive failures to qualify for the whole event and, once there, they only seldom lit the tournament up. In 1982, a good performance in the opening match against France was followed by an almost linear deterioration in performance, which ended in their elimination in the second group round after two goalless draws against West Germany and Spain. Much was made of the fact that they were eliminated, due to the peculiar tournament structure, unbeaten, but they only scored one goal in their final three matches. Four years later, Diego Maradona’s various antics overshadowed a slow start that saw them lose to Portugal and draw with Morocco before Gary Lineker’s goals breathed some life into them. Going into the 1990 World Cup finals, there was little for England supporters to be particularly optimistic about. Their performance at the 1988 European Championships had been abject and, while their final qualification group table for the trip to Italy looked comfortable, the four point gap between them in second place and Poland in third place was somewhat deceptive. A goalless draw in Chorzow against Poland had guaranteed their place, but defeat would likely have eliminated them. In addition to this, the...

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Trying To Dissect The Thierry Henry Handball

The British media have been gorging on the reflected anger of the Thierry Henry handball saga over the last couple of days or so, but do Irish football supporters need the British media churning up a diplomatic row on the scale of The Bay Of Pigs Crisis over a mistake on the part of a referee?

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