Euro 2012 Football Championship – Irish Qualifying Campaign
The Republic of Ireland football team was drawn as a third seed in Group B of the Euro 2012 qualification competition. The Irish were drawn against first seeds Russia who were also in Ireland’s group in the 2004 Euro qualifiers. It was Giovanni Trapattoni’s second qualification campaign after the narrow failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Irish fans were optimistic that a place in the play-offs was achievable at the very minimum.
Second seeds Slovakia were also familiar foes as they were in Ireland’s group during the Euro 2008 qualification campaign. Ireland had faced fourth seeds FYR Macedonia twice before, during the 1998 World Cup Qualifiers, and the Euro 2000 qualification campaign.
Famously a last minute equaliser by Macedonia’s Stavrevski in Skopje in October 1999 deprived Mick McCarthy’s Irish side of qualification of the Euro 2000 finals in England. Thus Ireland missed out on a second appearance at the Euro Finals. Ireland’s first appearance had been at Euro 1988 in Germany when the Irish football manager was the inimitable Jack Charlton.
Armenia and Andorra filled the fifth and sixth seeding positions in Group B.
Euro 2012 Qualifying Campaign – Group Table
Ireland Estonia Play Offs
Republic of Ireland V Armenia – 11 October 2011
Yet again an uninspired performance by Ireland delivered the desired result. The Irish team were given a massive boost after 26 minutes when the Armenian goalkeeper, Berezovsky, was adjudged by the referee to have prevented the lively Cox from scoring by blocking a shot with a raised arm outside of the box.
Ireland took the lead in the 43rd minute when a miscued shot by Kevin Doyle deceived the replacement keeper, Petrosyan, and the retreating Aleksanyan who guided the ball into the Armenian net. The Irish doubled their lead after 59 minutes when Richard Dunne scored. He didn’t appear to know too much about it as Petrosyan flapped at a cross the then hit Dunne and crossed the line. The Armenians pulled a goal back after 62 minutes through Mkhitaryan. Shay Given would have been disappointed that he shot eluded him.
Despite some edgy moments the Irish held on for the win thereby qualifying as a seeded team for the play-offs against one of the following four teams: Estonia, Bosnia & Herzogovenia, Montenegro or Turkey. RESULT: Republic of Ireland 2-1 Armenia
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Given (Aston Villa); O’Shea (Sunderland), St Ledger (Leicester City), Dunne (Aston Villa), Kelly (Fulham); Duff (Fulham), Andrews (Ipswich Town), Whelan (Stoke City), McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Cox (West Brom), Doyle (Wolves). Subs: Hunt (Wolves) for McGeady (67 mins), Fahey (Birmingham City) for Whelan (76 mins), Walters (Stoke City) for Cox (80 mins). Sent Off: Doyle (81 mins)
ARMENIA: Berezovsky; Hovsepyan, Aleksanyan, Mkoyan, Hayrapetyan; Mkhitaryan, Mkrtchyan; Malakyan (Petrosyan 27), Pizzelli (Manucharyan 53), Ghazaryan (Sarkisov 62); Movsisyan. Sent Off: Berezovsky (26 mins).
Referee: E. Gonzalez (Spain)
Andorra V Ireland – 7 October 2011
Ireland triumphed against Group B minnows Andorra courtesy of two first half goals from Kevin Doyle and Aiden McGeady (although it looked more like an own goal by Lima). It was also a triumph of efficiency over style at the tiny Estadi Comunal. On a night when group leaders Russia secured top spot in the group with an away victory against Slovakia this Irish result meant that Ireland just needed a draw at home in the final match at home to Armenia to make the play-offs. It was Ireland’s eight clean sheet in a row.
ANDORRA: Gomes; C Martinez, E Garcia, Lima, Ayala, Bernaus; A Martinez, Moreno, Vieira, Pujol; Silva. Subs: Peppe for Pujol, (60 mins), Lorenzo for A Martinez (78 mins), Sonejee for Lima (81 mins)
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Given (Aston Villa); O’Shea (Sunderland), St Ledger (Leicester City), O’Dea (Leeds United), Ward (Wolves); Duff (Fulham), Andrews (Ipswich Town), Whelan (Stoke City), McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Keane (LA Galaxy), Doyle (Wolves). Subs: Fahey (Birmingham City) for Whelan (65 mins), Long (West Brom) for Doyle (71 mins), Hunt (Wolves) for Duff (75 mins).
Referee: Libor Kovank (Czech Republic)
Russia V Republic of Ireland – 6 September 2011
Ireland’s qualifying group remained wide open after a backs-to-the-wall defensive performance by the Irish as they secured a goalless draw against a Russia side whose inability to convert a number of good opportunities cost them dear. Eighteen shots by Russia against just two by Ireland tells the tale. This fortunate draw also racked up the seventh consecutive clean sheet by the Republic. Irish manager had goalkeeper Shay Given, and a man of the match performance by Richard Dunne, to thank for keeping a clean sheet.
The group was thrown wide open by an amazing 0-4 win by Armenia over Slovakia in Zilina. This put Armenia into real contention for a play-off place in the group.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND : Shay Given (Aston Villa); Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Darren O’Dea (Leeds United), Stephen Ward (Wolves); Damien Duff (Fulham), Keith Andrews (Ipswich Town), Glen Whelan (Stoke City), Aidan McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves). Subs: Simon Cox (West Brom) for Doyle (59 mins), Stephen Hunt (Wolves) for Duff (67 mins).
RUSSIA : Malafeyev; Anyukov, V Berezutsky, Ignashevich, A Berezutsky; Arshavin, Semshov, Shirokov, Zyryanov, Zhirkov; Kerzhakov. Subs: Pavlyuchenko for Kerzhakov (54 mins), Bilyaetdinov for Zhirkov (76 mins).
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany) – Attendance: 48,717
Ireland V Slovakia – 2 September 2011
With Russia having gone clear at the top of Group B earlier in the day, there was a real urgency about taking all three points against Slovakia, the other main contenders for one of the top spots in Group B. And for all the spirit they showed late on as they hurled themselves forward in search of a winner, Giovanni Trapattoni’s team simply didn’t do enough over the course of the 90 minutes to justify a claim that they should have won.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND : Shay Given (Aston Villa); John O’Shea (Sunderland), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Stephen Ward (Wolves); Damien Duff (Fulham), Keith Andrews (Ipswich Town), Glen Whelan (Stoke City), Aidan McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves). Subs: Simon Cox (West Brom) for Doyle (64 mins), Stephen Hunt (Wolves) for McGeady (85 mins).
SLOVAKIA : Mucha; Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Cech; Kucka, Karhan; Hamsik, Stoch, Weiss; Holosko. Subs: Guede for Kucka (77 mins), Jendrisek for Weiss (86 mins), Vittek for Holosko (88 mins).
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal) – Attendance: 44,761
Republic of Ireland V Macedonia – 4 June 2011
Yet again due to injuries Giovanni Trapattoni fielded a makeshift defence shorn of the services of Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger. Robbie Keane’s 50th and 51st goals for Ireland secured a victory that was crucial after both Russia and Slovakia had won earlier in the day. All three nations were now tied on 13 points with Russia top, Slovakia second and Ireland third due of the head-to-head record. Giovanni Trapattoni’s men rode their luck at times during the match with Pandev’s shot saved by Shay Given when clean through and Trickovski’s penalty crashed off the bar the biggest let-offs. Captain Robbie Keane was clinical in front of goal and the second half performance was very professional, if unspectacular.
Republic of Ireland: Shay Given (Manchester City) Stephen Kelly (Fulham), John O’Shea (Manchester United), Darren O’Dea (Celtic), Kevin Kilbane (Hull City), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Keith Andrews (Blackburn Rovers), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), Robbie Keane (Tottenham Hotspur), Simon Cox (West Bromwich Albion) Subs: Long (Reading) for Cox (64 mins) Booked: Cox
Macedonia: Nuredinovski, Sikov, Noveski, Grncarov, Popov, Sumulikoski, Trickovski, Demiri, Tasevski, Pandev, Naumoski. Subs: Bogatinov, Mitreski, Georgievski, Ristic, Despotovski, Lazevski, Gjurovski.
Referee: Istvan Vad (Hungary) – Attendance: 30,000 est
Ireland V Macedonia – 26 March 2011
Due to injuries Giovanni Trapattoni fielded a somewhat unusual defence that included Kevin Foley in for John O’Shea, Darren O’Dea for Sean St Ledger, and Keiren Westwood in for Shay Given. The Irish got off to the best possible start at the Aviva Stadium as Aiden McGeady scored his first international goal for Ireland after just 90 seconds. His strong shot from outside of the box beat Macedonia’s keeper, Nuredinoski, when the stopper might have done better. Nuredinoski also played a big part in Ireland’s second goal. He failed to hold on to a Darron Gibson free kick and spilled the ball in front of the on-rushing Robbie Keane. The Irish skipper did well to toe poke the ball wide of the despairing keeper and into the net. Twenty minutes gone and the Irish led 2-0.
Although the Macedonians had more of the possession they never really threatened until moments before half time. Ivan Trickovski took a pass from Macedonian’s star man, Pandev. Trickovski advanced into the box and turned Richard Dunne creating enough space to drive a low shot beyond the diving Westwood. In the second half he Irish players seemed content to defend their lead thus allowing the Macedonians to increase in confidence. The disappointingly low Aviva crowd watched nervously as the Irish just about held on to take the three points. With just three minutes left Trapattoni gave a competitive debut to the promising Wigan youngster James McCarthy.
Republic of Ireland: Westwood (Coventry City), Foley (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Dunne (Aston Villa), O’Dea (Ipswich Town), Kilbane (Huddersfield Town), Whelan (Stoke City), Gibson (Manchester United) McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Keane (Tottenham); Duff (Fulham). Subs: Long (Reading) for Doyle (20 mins), Fahey (Birmingham City) for Gibson (77 mins), McCarthy (Wigan) for Keane (87 mins) Booked: Westwood, Dunne, Gibson
Macedonia: Nuredinoski, Shikov, Popov, Noveski, Grncharov, Shumulikosi, Demiri (Georgievski ’84), Tasevski (Gjurovski ’61), Trichkovski, Pandev, Naumoski (Risticj ’68). Booked: Grncharov, Popov, Demiri
Referee: Istvan Vad (Hungary) – Attendance: 30,000 est
Slovakia V Republic of Ireland – 12 October 2010
In a much-improved performance, from the previous Friday against Russia, Ireland earned a comfortable 1-1 draw. Indeed with a little bit more of a cutting edge Ireland cut easily have won this match. The two stand-ins due to injury, Shane Long for Kevin Doyle and Keith Fahey for Liam Lawrence, certainly justified their inclusion by Giovanni Trapattoni. Long justifiably won the man-of-the-match award however if Keith Fahey had not gone off early in the second half he would have been in contention also.
In the 16th minute Ireland deservedly took the lead from a crossed free kick by Fahey which was coolly slotted home by Sean St Ledger. Ireland continued to play well but uncharacteristically the Irish conceded a goal from a corner when Whelan let Durica get free to head home off the underside of the bar. Ireland had a chance to regain the lead when the Slovakian keeper, Mucha, pulled McGeady down in the box. Robbie Keane, captaining the Republic of Ireland for a record-equalling 40th time, did not strike the ball well and allowed Mucha to redeem himself as he saved diving to his right. Despite Ireland having the best of the possession and the chances in the second half the match ended all square.
Slovakia: Mucha (Everton); Zabavnik (Mainz), Salata (Slovan Bratislava), Durica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Hubocan (Zenit St Petersburg); Sestak (Ankaragucu), Karhan (Mainz), Kucka (Sparta Prague), Weiss (Rangers); Hamsik (Napoli); Jendrisek (Schalke 04). Subs: Holosko (Besiktas) and Stoch (Fenerbahce) for Sestak and Weiss (68 mins), Oravec (Schalke 04) for Jendrisek (83 mins).
Republic of Ireland: Given (Manchester City); O’Shea (Manchester United), Dunne (Aston Villa), St Ledger (Preston NE), Kilbane (Hull City); Fahey (Birmingham City), Green (Derby Co), Whelan (Stoke City), McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Long (Reading), Keane (Tottenham). Subs: Gibson (Manchester United) for Green (40 mins), Keogh (Cardiff City) for Fahey (70 mins), Foley (Wolves) for McGeady (90 mins).
Referee : Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain) – Attendance: 12,000
Ireland V Russia – 08 October 2010
Through a strange quirk of fate Ireland lost at the Aviva Stadium to a rampant Russian team yet managed to stay on top of the Euro 2012 group B table. This was courtesy on a shock 3 -1 defeat of Slovakia by Armenia and two late Irish goals at the Aviva. Giovanni Trapattoni retained the same team that had beaten Armenia in the last Group match and the Irish team started quite brightly. The Irish fans were making themselves heard and the atmosphere was electric. In the seventh minute Robbie Keane hit the crossbar following a frantic passage of play. However this was a s good as it got for the Irish. After 11 minutes the Russians gabbed the lead through Kerzhakov following a flick on by Ignashevich despite the presence of three Irish players on the line. Ireland were in real trouble after 28 minutes when Dzagoev doubled the lead with a classy goal. Kerzhakov dummied Alexander Anyukov’s cross from the right hand side and the ball fell nicely for Dzagoev to beat Shay Given. As Ireland emerged for the second half Irish supporters hoped the Trapattoni had been able to steady the ship and give the Irish players a plan to get back into the match. Unfortunately things went from bad to worse just five minutes into the second half when a long range shot from Shirokov deflected off Richard Dunne leaving Given stranded – 0-3 to Russia. On 72 minutes Ireland got a glimmer of hope when Robbie Keane won a soft penalty which he duly dispatched to notch up his 45th international goal. The glimmer became an ember of hope when substitute Shane Long forced home from within the box to leave the score at 2-3 with 12 minutes to go. Unfortunately for the Irish the equaliser wouldn’t come and the Republic of Ireland suffered a first defeat at the Aviva Stadium. RESULT: Ireland 2 – 3 Russia
Republic of Ireland: 1 Given; 4 O’Shea, 2 St Ledger, 5 Dunne, 3 Kilbane; 7 Lawrence (14 Long ’62), 6 Whelan (15 Gibson ’66), 8 Green, 11 McGeady; 9 Doyle (12 Fahey ’71), 10 Keane.
Russia: 1 Akinfeev; 2 Anyukov, 3 V Beretzutsky, 4 Ignashevich, 5 Zhirkov; 6 Shirokov, 7 Denisov, 8 Zyranov (15 Semshov ’68); 11 Dzagoev (14 A Beretzutsky ’85), 10 Arshavin; 9 Kerzhakov (16 Pogrebynak ’80).
Referee: Kevin Blom (Netherlands) – Attendance: 50,411
Republic of Ireland V Andorra – 07 September 2010
The first competitive football match at the new Aviva Stadium was Ireland’s second Euro 2012 qualifier in Group B against minnows Andorra. Following the victory over Armenia on the previous Friday confidence was high that the Irish would finish the opening matches in the group with maximum points. Despite a sock goal by the Andorrans and frustrating time-wasting tactics the Irish team duly delivered six points out of a possible six. With just 15 minutes elapsed Kevin Kilbane celebrated his 105th cap with a headed goal from a Liam Lawrence corner. With just about five minutes left in the first half Kevin Doyle added a magnificent second goal with a great long range strike. With everything apparently going to plan Andorra reduced the Irish lead on the blow of half time. Cristian Martinez sent a stunning strike from outside the box past the despairing Shay Given. Ten minutes into the second half Ireland restored the two goal lead through a well-worked move involving McGeady, Doyle and Irish captain Robbie Keane. Keane finished the move off by coolly clipping the ball over Gomes in the Andorra goal. Despite further Irish pressure and the vast majority of the possession the score remained at 3-1 until the final whistle. Nevertheless it was a job well done and left Ireland topping the Group B table after the second round of Euro 2012 qualifiers. RESULT: Ireland 3 – 1 Andorra
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Shay Given (Manchester City); John O’Shea (Manchester United), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Preston North End), Kevin Kilbane (Hull City); Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth), Paul Green (Derby County), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Aidan McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Robbie Keane – Captain (Tottenham Hotspur). Substitutes: Darron Gibson (Manchester United) for Whelan (61 mins), Stephen Kelly (Fulham) for O’Shea (75 mins), Andy Keogh (Cardiff City) for Doyle (83 mins). Unused Subs: Keiren Westwood, Keith Fahey, Greg Cunningham, Shane Long
ANDORRA : Gomes; Escura, Silva, Lima, Bernaus; Martinez, Vieira, Ayala, Moreno; Pujol, Gomez. Subs: Jimenez for Moreno (59 mins), Andorra for Ayala (71 mins), Sonejee for Pujol (86 mins).
Referee: Leontios Trattou (Cyprus).
Armenia V Ireland – 03 September 2010
The Irish opened their Euro 2012 qualification campaign in Yerevan against Armenia. In sweltering conditions Ireland emerged with the precious three points through a 76th minute goal from substitute Keith Fahey. Fahey, set up by man-of-the-match Kevin Doyle, had been on the pitch for less than ten minutes when he drove low from twelve yards out into the left corner beyond the finger tips of Armenian goalkeeper Berezovsky.
ARMENIA: Berezovsky, Hovsepyan, Arzumanyan, Arakelyan, Artak Edigaryan, Mkrtchyan, Artur Edigaryan, Pachajyan, Mkhitaryan, Malakyan, Movsisyan. Subs: Manoyan for Artur Edigaryan (68 mins), Hambardzumyan for Artak Edigaryan (71 mins), Manucharyan for Malakyan (79 mins).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Shay Given; John O’Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Kevin Kilbane, Liam Lawrence, Paul Green, Glenn Whelan, Aidan McGeady; Kevin Doyle, Robbie Keane – Capt. Substitutes: Keith Fahey for McGeady (68 mins), Andy Keogh for Keane (85 mins). Unused Subs: Keiren Westwood, Stephen Kelly, Darron Gibson, Cillian Sheridan
Referee: Zsolt Szaba (Hungary)
Euro 2012 Player Appearances for Ireland
Ireland’s Fixtures for Euro 2012
Irish World Cup Qualifying Group Results
Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish World Cup Qualifying Campaigns
Irish European Championship Qualifying Group Results
Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish Euro Championship Finals Qualifying Campaigns