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Irish Football > Euro 88 Finals > Republic of Ireland V Holland
Irish defender Paul McGrrath playing against Hollan at Euro 1988
Paul McGrath at Euro 88

Ireland v Holland - Euro 1988

Ireland began the third match in Group B at the Euro 88 finals against Holland knowing that a draw would see the team progress to the semi-finals. Having lost their first match to the Soviet Union the Dutch needed to beat the Irish.

The date was the 18th of June 1988 and the venue was Parkstadion, Gelsenkirchen, West Germany. It was virtually a home tie for the Dutch but there was a sizeable contingent of Irish supporters who made their voices heard.

The Irish team played well in the first half and performed admirably against the highly talented Dutch team.

Paul McGrath Hits Post

From their only corner of the match the Irish hit the post. Defender-turned-midfielder Paul McGrath rose majestically above the Dutch defence and headed the ball firmly down against the base of the post. A last ditch intervention by Vanenburgh prevented the ball spinning over the goal line.

Due to an injury to Chris Morris the supremely talented McGrath switched to fullback. His berth in midfield was taken up by Kevin Sheedy. As the match wore on the pressure from the Netherlands intensified as the Irish retreated deeper and deeper into defence. McGrath took to his new defensive duties with aplomb helping the Irish reach the last ten minutes of the match without conceding.

Lucky Wim Kieft Goal Dashes Irish Hopes

With just eight minutes remaining it looked as though the Irish would secure the draw that they needed. As yet another Dutch cross came into the Irish box Paul McGrath sent a clearing header towards Ronald Koeman. Koeman attempted a volleyed shot on goal but only managed to kick ball into the ground.

The ball looked to be spinning wide until it hit substitute Wim Kieft of the head. Kieft reacted sufficiently to redirect the ball towards the goal but it looked destined to go wide. However there was so much spin on the ball from Koeman's fluffed shot it took the ball beyond the despairing dive of goalkeeper Packie Bonner and it squeezed just inside the post.

Irish manager Jack Charlton immediately sent on Tony Cascarino in place of Frank Stapleton but the substitution was was not enough to save the Irish. That somewhat fortunate goal by Kieft was enough to send the Dutch through to the semi-finals and to send the brave Irish team home.

It had been an exhilarating campaign in what was Ireland's first participation in a major football final competition. Notably they had taken the scalp of the old enemy England in a match that they should have lost. They also drew with the mighty Soviet Union in a match that the should have won, and they lost a match that they should have drawn. Both the Dutch and the Soviet Union went on to make the final in which the Dutch ultimately prevailed.

Ireland & Holland Teams

Republic of Ireland Team
Packie Bonner, Chris Morris, Mick McCarthy, Kevin Moran, Chris Hughton, Ray Houghton, Paul McGrath, Ronnie Whelan, Tony Galvin, Frank Stapleton (captain), John Aldridge. Subs - Kevin Sheedy for Chris Morris (46), Tony Cascarino for Stapleton (83) Coach: Jack Charlton.

Holland Team
Hans van Breukelen, Adri van Tiggele, Ronald Koeman, Berry van Aerle, Frank Rijkaard, Jan Wouters, Gerald Vanenburg, Arnold Muhren, Erwin Koeman, Ruud Gullit (captain), Marco van Basten. Subs - Wim Kieft for E Koeman (51), John Bosman for Muhren (79), Coach: Rinus Michels. Goal Scorer: Wim Kieft 82'. Booked Jan Wouters (60)

Venue: Parkstadion, Gelsenkirchen Match Attendance: 70,800 Referee: Horst Brummeier - Austria.

1988 Euro Group B Table After Third Round of Matches

1988 Euro Finals - Group B After Three Matches
Nation
Played
Won
Drew
Lost
Goals F
Goals A
Points
Soviet Union
3
2
1
0
5
2
5
Holland
3
2
0
1
4
2
4
Republic of Ireland
3
1
1
1
2
2
3
England
3
0
0
3
2
7
0



Ireland & 1990 World Cup Finals - Irish Squad World Cup 1990
Ireland V England 1990 - Ireland V Egypt 1990 - Ireland V Holland 1990
Ireland V Romania 1990 - Ireland V Italy 1990
Ireland & 1994 World Cup Finals - Irish Squad World Cup 1994
Ireland V Italy 1994 - Ireland V Mexico 1994 - Ireland V Norway 1994 - Ireland V Netherlands 1994
Ireland & 2002 World Cup Finals - 2002 World Cup Irish Squad - 2002 World Cup Irish Group Matches
Ireland V Cameroon 2002 - Ireland V Germany 2002 - Ireland V Saudi Arabia 2002 - Ireland V Spain 2002

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