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Republic of Ireland V Spain - 2002 World Cup
Niall Quinn Wins a Penalty
By finishing second the Group E behind Germany the Republic of Ireland met Spain in the last 16 of the 2002 World cup finals. For the fist time Ireland would play a World Cup match in South Korea when the two teams met in the Suwon World Cup Stadium on Sunday 16th June.
In a nail-biting encounter yet again the Irish fell behind to an early goal and for the second time in this World Cup they grabbed a last gasp equaliser.
Spain Score First Against Ireland
Spain began the match in a dominant fashion and it was no great surprise when Morientes scored the opening goal of the match. He was aided by some slack defending by the Irish. Carles Puyol was allowed far too much room to receive the ball from a throw-in and then pick his cross into the Irish box.
Beating Gary Breen to the ball at the near post Fernando Morientes sent his header past a despairing Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given. Eight minutes gone and the Irish were 1-0 down for the third time in the 2002 World Cup finals. Further dominance by Spain should have increased the lead and even though Luis Enrique did find the back of the Irish net the goal was ruled out for offside. The Irish rode their luck and went in at half-time just a goal down.
Robbie Keane Equalises for Ireland Against Spain
As in the Match against Saudi Arabia Irish manger Mick McCarthy brought on veteran forward Niall Quinn for a fullback. In the 55th minute Gary Kelly was withdrawn, Damien Duff was switched to the wing, and Quinn and Robbie Keane played up front. Almost instantly the new line-up gave Ireland the advantage and in a reverse of the first half Spain were on the back foot. It was no surprise when Duff won a penalty for the Irish having been taken down by Juanfran. Unfortunately for Ireland Iker Casillas saved from the normally dependable Ian Harte. To make matters worse Kevin Kilbane sent the rebound wide when it was easier to score.
Further pressure from the Irish led to goal chances for Duff and Robbie Keane. Just when it looked like the Republic of Ireland's Far East adventure was at an end Hierro tried to tear off Niall Quinn's shirt in the jostling in the box in the build up to a last minute free kick for the Irish. Referee Anders Frisk of Sweden spotted the infringement and awarded the penalty to Ireland. Robbie Keane confidently stepped up to convert the spot kick for his third goal of the 2002 World Cup finals and to send the match into extra time.
Penalty Shoot-Out Disappointment for Ireland in 2002
In extra time the Irish continued to have the best of the play and the scoring opportunities. Keane and Gary Breen had decent chances to send Ireland into the quarter finals. Despite all of the pressure, and Spain being reduced to ten men through injury, the Irish just couldn't force the winner. For the second time in World Cup finals Ireland faced into a penalty shoot-out. Unlike in Genoa against Romania in Italia 1990 there was to be no happy ending for the Irish in Suwon.
Despite hitting the goal every time Ireland only scored two penalties out of five. Mendieta's penalty was the decider and with that so ended the Republic of Ireland's participation in the 2002 World Cup finals.
Ireland V Spain Post-Match Comments
Although bitterly disappointed to lose out on penalties Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy only had praise for his players
"I'm very proud. We didn't deserve an end like that - we deserved to win in normal time. They are a wonderful bunch of people. I'm proud to have had a chance to work with them. We've had a wonderful World Cup."
"We would have loved to go to the quarter-final and we deserved to. I've nothing but admiration for the players - even the ones who didn't play. It's very tough for the lads who took the penalties and I've got no criticism of them at all."
2002 World Cup Finals - Republic of Ireland V Spain Match Statistics
2002 World Cup Finals - Republic of Ireland V Spain Team Line Ups
Spain: Casillas, Puyol, Helguera, Hierro, Juanfran, Baraja, Valeron, De Pedro (Mendieta 66), Luis Enrique, Raul (Luque 80), Morientes (Albelda 71).
Rep of Ireland: Shay Given, Gary Kelly (Niall Quinn 55), Stephen Staunton (captain) (Kenny Cunningham 50), Gary Breen, Ian Harte (Connolly 82), Steve Finnan, Mark Kinsella, Matt Holland, Kevin Kilbane, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane.
Spain win 3-2 on penalties
Attendance: 38,926 - Referee: Anders Frisk from Sweden
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