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Irish Football > 2012 Euro Finals

Ireland at Euro 2012 Finals

After ten years since their last appearance at a major football championship finals the Irish senior team finally qualified for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine. After the heartbreaking disappointment of the 2010 World Cup play-off match in Paris Irish manager, Giovanni Trapattoni guided his charges to second place in the Euro 2012 qualification group.

The Republic of Ireland drew Estonia in the Euro 2012 play-off matches and following an outstanding 4-0 win in Tallin the Irish closed out the deal with stress-free 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium.

It had been generally accepted that Ireland had been lucky in drawing Estonia in the play-offs but that luck deserted the Irish when the draw for the Euro 2012 finals was made in Kiev on 2nd December 2011. Ireland was in Pot 4 of four and was the lowest ranked team amongst the 16 qualifiers.

Euro 2012 Final Draw

The draw was made amid great fanfare in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. The Irish were drawn in Group C by French footballing legend Zinedine Zidane. Unfortunately for Ireland the top seed in Group C was, Euro 2008 and 2010 Word Cup champions, Spain. Zidane then drew Croatia from Pot 3 and as though the task wasn't difficult enough Dutch master Marco Van Basten drew Italy from Pot 2 to complete the group. The sequence of matches was also determined by the draw process and Irelands group matches were as follows:

Date
KO
Opponent
Venue
10 June 12
7:45pm
Croatia
Poznan
14 June 12
7:45pm
Spain
Gdansk
18 June 12
7:45pm
Italy
Poznan

Map of Poland

For many football pundits and Irish fans the opening match against Croatia in Poznan would determine whether Ireland could progress to the knockout stages of Euro 2012. A win in this match would set the Irish up for a heroic campaign but a loss would make it almost impossible to make it out of the group. One possible positive omen was that Ireland's match against Italy was scheduled for the 18th anniversary of the famous and well-deserved Irish victory over Italy at the 1994 World Cup finals at Giants Stadium in New York.

While the draw was anything but favourable to Ireland the fact the the team was based in Poland made travel arrangements for the Irish fans was far easier than if the team had been drawn to play in the Ukraine.

At the time of the Euro 2012 Finals draw the following were the vital statistics of Ireland's (FIFA World Ranking 21) opponents in Group C:

SPAIN
FIFA World Ranking: 1
Manager: Vicente Del Bosque
Qualified: Group A winners -
P8 W8 D0 L0 Pts 24
Previous Euro Cup honours: Winners 1964, 2008
Runners-up 1984
Republic of Ireland record v Spain: P24 W4 D7 L13
ITALY
FIFA World Ranking: 9
Manager: Cesare Prandelli
Qualified: Group C winners -
P10 W8 D0 L0 Pts 26
Previous Euro Cup honours: Winners 1968
Runners-up 2000
Republic of Ireland record v Italy: P12 W2 D2 L8
CROATIA
FIFA World Ranking: 8
Manager: Slaven Bilic
Qualified: Group F runner-up, beat Turkey 3-0 on agg in play-off
Republic of Ireland record v Croatia: P6 W2 D3 L1

As the Euro 2012 finals kicked off the FIFA World rankings for the teams in Group C were as follows:

Team
Rank
Spain
1
Croatia
8
Italy
12
Ireland
18

Ireland's Performance at Euro 2012

Ireland's participation at the the Euro 2012 finals proved to be a huge anticlimax and disappointment. Three bad defeats, nine goals conceded and just one scored. Poor form by many of the players, sterile tactics by Irish football manager Giovanni Trapattoni, and three high quality opponents ensured Ireland's worst ever performance at a major championship. Ireland began the campaign with a 3-1 loss to Croatia and this was followed by a football lesson from World champions Spain, who ran out 4-0 winners. In the final dead rubber the Irish succumbed to the Italians by two goals to nil.

Most unusually the normally well organised Irish defence conceded goals from corner kicks in each match. To compound that the Irish posed hardly any goal threat in any of the matches and scored just one by Sean St Ledger from a set-piece. It may not be a coincidence that the matches at Euro 2012 formed part of Robbie Keane's poorest run of form in front of goal for Ireland. The last group match against Italy made it eleven out of twelve without a goal for Ireland's record goal scorer.

It is a fitting indictment of the Irish performances on the pitch at Euro 2012 that the high point for the nation was the prolonged and defiant rendition of the Fields of Athenry by the Irish fans during the final moments of the 4-0 drubbing by Spain in Gdansk. A tribute by the thousands of travelling Irish fans to the efforts of the players notwithstanding the dreary tactics employed by Irish football manager Giovanni Trapattoni. The Italian's stubborn reluctance to release the tactical straight jacket, and his unwillingness to introduce more creative or impact substitutes, such as James McClean, Darron Gibson, or Stephen Hunt, left most observers baffled.

Ireland's performance at Euro 2012 equalled the worst ever performances at any European Championships since the competition began. [For the record: The following nations all lost their three group matches and ended with a minus 8 goal difference - The former Yugoslavia in 1984; Denmark in 2000 &; Bulgaria 2004]

Euro 2012 Group C Irish Match Statistics

The Irish match statistics at Euro 2012 go along way to telling the tale of the Irish performance in Poland. Over the three matches Ireland had just 40% possession of the ball and the statistics make it clear that this possession was not very effective. In three matches Ireland won a total of just eight corners. This is the same number as Spain won in their match against Ireland and four less than Italy won in their one match against the Irish. Spain and Italy had 26 and 27 goal attempts respectively in their matches against Ireland. This contrasts with just 25 attempts on goal by the Irish in their three matches. Of these attempts just 11 were on target - in three matches.

 
Ireland
Croatia
Goals Scored
1
3
Possession (%)
45%
55%
Goal Attempts
13
15
Attempts on Target
5
9
Corners
1
7
Fouls committed
12
18
Caught Offside
2
1
Woodwork
0
0
Yellow Cards
1
2
Red Cards
0
0
Ireland
Spain
0
4
34%
66%
6
26
4
20
2
8
16
9
1
6
0
0
3
0
0
0
Ireland
Italy
0
2
40%
60%
6
27
2
17
5
12
23
15
7
3
0
0
4
3
1
0

Euro 2012 Group C Final Table

Euro 2012 - Group C - Final Standings
  Nation
Played
Won
Drew
Lost
Goals F
Goals A
Points
Spanish flag
Spain
3
2
1
0
6
1
7
Italian flag
Italy
3
1
2
0
4
2
5
Croatian flag
Croatia
3
1
1
1
4
3
4
Irish flag
Republic of Ireland
3
0
0
3
1
9
0

Player Stats at Euro 2012

No. Name Position Starts
Sub
Goals
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
1
Shay Given Goalkeeper
3
0
0
0
0
16
Keiren Westwood Goalkeeper
0
0
0
0
0
23
David Forde Goalkeeper
0
0
0
0
0
4
John O'Shea Defender
3
0
0
2
0
5
Richard Dunne Defender
3
0
0
0
0
2
Sean St Ledger Defender
3
0
1
2
0
3
Stephen Ward Defender
3
0
0
0
0
13
Paul McShane Defender
0
0
0
0
0
12
Stephen Kelly Defender
0
0
0
0
0
18
Darren O'Dea Defender
0
0
0
0
0
8
Keith Andrews Midfielder
3
0
0
2
1
6
Glenn Whelan Midfielder
3
0
0
1
0
15
Darron Gibson Midfielder
0
0
0
0
0
11
Damien Duff Midfielder
3
0
0
0
0
7
Aiden McGeady Midfielder
3
0
0
0
0
17
Stephen Hunt Midfielder
0
0
0
0
0
21
Paul Green Midfielder
0
1
0
0
0
22
Jame McClean Midfielder
0
1
0
0
0
10
Robbie Keane Forward
3
0
0
1
0
9
Kevin Doyle Forward
2
0
0
0
0
20
Simon Cox Forward
1
2
0
0
0
14
Jon Walters Forward
0
3
0
0
0
19
Shane Long Forward
0
2
0
0
0


Ireland & 1990 World Cup Finals - Irish Squad World Cup 1990
Ireland V England 1990 - Ireland V Egypt 1990 - Ireland V Holland 1990
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Ireland V Italy 1994 - Ireland V Mexico 1994 - Ireland V Norway 1994 - Ireland V Netherlands 1994
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