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Ireland v Netherlands at World Cup 94 - Match Report
By virtue of the fact that Ireland had finished in second place in Group E the team would now face the Netherlands in Orlando, Florida. The Citrus Bowl didn't hold many positives for the Irish.
The soaring temperatures during the group match against Mexico had seriously impacted upon the performance of the Irish players and had given the Mexicans a major advantage. At least against the Dutch the heat in Orlando would have a more equal effect on the two teams but there were concerns that the ageing Irish team might struggle as the match wore on.
As it transpired the Netherlands secured the winning margin before the first half had concluded. Their wingers Marc Overmars and Peter Van Vossen were causing major headaches for the Irish defence. It was no great surprise when the Dutch took the lead with just over ten minutes gone. Overmars set up the first goal crossing the ball to Dennis Bergkamp. The Arsenal forward easily flicked it past Irish keeper Packie Bonner for his second goal in two matches.
With less than five minutes to go to half time the Dutch increased their lead through an uncharacteristic error by the Irish keeper. Bonner, the most experienced player in Irish international history at that point, misjudged Wim Jonk's relatively tame shot from 30 yards out in the 41st minute. The ball bounced off his raised hands and trickled into the net. "I can't explain. It wasn't anything that I tried to do," Bonner said. "It just happened. That's the way it goes. That's just football. "
The Dutch became more withdrawn in the second half as they protected their 2-0 lead. Midfielders Aron Winter and Frank Rijkaard providing deep cover for their defenders as the Irish began to find their attack. In the 86th minute, substitute Tony Cascarino found an unmarked Phil Babb inside the penalty area to the right of Dutch keeper Ed de Goey. But Babb's shot whistled wide left of the Dutch goal.
At the death Paul McGrath controlled a high pass from Ray Houghton by sweeping his leg high in the air and then slid the ball past De Goey for what would have been a brilliant goal. McGrath, however, was penalised for dangerous play because his boot made contact with Rijkaard's head.
The defeat ended the Irish magical World Cup ride, which included the historic defeat of Italy. Ireland fell one match shy of matching it's only previous World Cup performance, when it advanced to the quarterfinals in Italy in 1990.
Paul McGrath's Disallowed Goal Against the Netherlands at 1994 World Cup
Teams Line Up
Republic of Ireland: 1 Packie Bonner (Glasgow Celtic), 3 Terry Phelan (Manchester City), 5 Paul McGrath (Aston Villa), 11 Steve Staunton (Aston Villa), 12 Gary Kelly (Leeds United), 14 Phil Babb (Coventry City), 6 Roy Keane (Manchester United), 7 Andy Townsend (capt) (Aston Villa), 8 Ray Houghton (Aston Villa), 10 John Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday) 15 Tommy Coyne (Motherwell)
Netherlands: Ed de Goey, Frank de Boer, Ronald Koeman (capt), Stan Valckx, Frank Rijkaard, Rob Witschge, Wim Jonk, Aron Winter, Marc Overmars, Dennis Bergkamp, Peter van Vossen.
Venue: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida, Date: 24th June 1994 Attendance: 61,355 Referee: Peter Mikkelsen from Denmark.
Result: Netherlands 2-0 Ireland
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