Tag: Republic of Ireland

Euro 2012: Croatia 3-1 Republic Of Ireland

If only Robbie Keane’s singing voice had been the low point of the evening. The lyricism of the Irish language is not exactly enhanced by the Dublin accent. When you add Keane’s atonality – and the dirge which is Amhran na Bhfiann, Ireland’s national anthem – you are in a form of hell. And there Ireland’s followers stayed. In parts, Ireland weren’t that bad. But in the parts either side of half-time, they were. Croatia’s passing was slick in the build-up to their third goal. And Nikica Jelavic’s finish for their second was the classiest act of the night. However, if Spain press the ball against the Croats as poorly as Ireland did, their manager Vincente Del Bosque might have to give his marquisate back. Ireland conceded only nine goals in twelve qualifying games, three at Italia ’90 and only two at Euro ’88. So three in forty-eight minutes might have been worth a “bet in play, naaah (now)” with that doyen of gambling adverts Ray Winstone. Mario Mandzukic’s third-minute opener was a slow-motion nightmare. You wait expectantly for a defender or goalkeeper to get there…and you wait…. Mandzukic only stretched to head the ball somewhere towards the target in the hope that a colleague might get there too. But there was no need. In Moscow, when Ireland held Russia 0-0 (a result which looked fabulous on Friday after...

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Come On You Boys In Green! A Second-Generation Irishmans Euro 2012 Perspective

It’s a difficult choice. Are Italian boss Giovanni Trapattoni’s “well-drilled” Ireland team more difficult to beat, or to watch? Such is the quality of Ireland’s Group C opponents in Euro 2012 – numbers one, four and nine in the last FIFA world rankings I saw – that ‘Trap’s’ team could be difficult to watch in a “hide behind the sofa” manner rather than because of their reliance on Keith Andrews and Glenn Whelan for central-midfield creativity. I’m not letting out any state secrets when I say that Ireland haven’t been “easy” to watch very often since the Republic of Ireland became “my” international team, after I was given a copy of the Jimmy Conway Football Annual back in the mid-1970s, the “Fulham and Eire (sic) star” being an occasional member of our parish church’s congregation. The annual was dominated by features of Ireland player-manager Johnny Giles’s dashing young team, which had beaten the Soviet Union 3-0 in a European Championship qualifier at Dublin’s ‘homely and traditional’ (trans: small and ramshackle) Dalymount Park in 1974. A hat-trick by QPR’s Don Givens had seen off the Soviets, who had been finalists in the previous European Championships. And Conway’s annual was full of black-and-white photos of that game, with a terrifyingly young-looking international debutant Liam Brady featuring as heavily as the hat-trick hero and the manager (television footage includes Brady turning two...

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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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