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Ireland V Norway at World Cup 1994 - Match Report
The Republic of Ireland went into their third and last match of 1994 World Cup Group E knowing that a draw would be enough to make it into the next round of the competition. The Irish cause was not helped by the fact that both first choice fullbacks, Denis Irwin of Manchester United and Terry Phelan of Manchester City, missed the match due to suspension. Both had been booked in each of the matches against Italy and Mexico.
Of equal concern was that Irish football manager, Jack Charlton, had been given a touchline ban by FIFA due to his actions during the farcical situation the evolved during the substitution of John Aldridge for Tommy Coyne during the match against Mexico in the second group match.
The Irish knew that Norway needed a goal more desperately to have any chance of advancing in the competition. The Republic played with more confidence for the greater part of the game, making certain they earned the valuable point that a draw would bring.
Charlton's tactics ensured that the Irish were never caught outnumbered or caught out of position throughout the game. They forced the Norwegians to play a long ball games that suited the Irish defence.
Unlike during the loss to Mexico in the oppressive heat of Orlando, the Irish were more effective in attack and came closer to scoring. FIFA statistics showed that Ireland had possession of the ball 58% of the time.
The Republic of Ireland's best chance came in the 81st minute, when Roy Keane saw the Norwegian goalkeeper, Erik Thorstvedt, was off his line. Keane chipped the ball over Thorstvedt but it landed on top of the net rather than in it.
The crowd, dominated by the Irish fans, chanted Charlton's name as the game ended in the draw that the Republic needed.
"Ireland played very good," said Egil Olsen, the Norway coach. "They were very careful in the back and made it a hard job for us to get through. We couldn't score a goal."
1994 World Cup Group E Standings After Third Round of Matches
Following the third, and final, round of matches in Group E all four teams ended up with a win, a loss, and a draw.
Remarkably all four teams ended up with four points and with identical goal differences. Mexico topped the group on goals scored and the Norwegians finished bottom of the group as they scored just one goal in the three matches.
Ireland finished in second place ahead of Italy due the opening match victory over the Italians. This meant that the Irish would face the Netherlands in the next round and they would also face another trip to the stifling heat of Orlando.
Teams Line Up
Republic of Ireland: 1 Pat Bonner (Glasgow Celtic), 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), 21 Jason McAteer (Bolton Wanderers), 9 John Aldridge 67' (Tranmere Rovers)
Norway: Erik Thorstvedt, Gunnar Halle, Erland Johnsen, Rune Bratseth (capt), Stig Inge Bjørnebye, Henning Berg, Jostein Flo, Erik Mykland, Øyvind Leonhardsen, Kjetil Rekdal, Gøran Sørloth.
Venue: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey Date: 28th June 1994 Attendance: 72,404 Referee: Jose Joaquin Torres Cadena from Colombia.
Result: Ireland 0-0 Norway
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