What a dreadful bore - Ireland held by Egyptians as Dutch hold key to progression
Republic of Ireland 0 Egypt 0
Ireland's hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the World Cup all depend on the outcome of Thursday night's encounter with Holland after a below par performance in the in Palermo yesterday.
Jack Charlton's team created enough chances to win the game but some weak finishing, bad luck and frustrating tactics bv the Egyptians meant they had to settle for a share of the points.
Early on long throw-ins by Mick McCarthy caused some problems for the Egyptians, but the tactics were too predictable and never really bothered a tight-marking Egyptian defence.
Andy Townsend just failed to control the ball after Kevin Sheedy, the goalscoring hero against England had set up the chance.
Then, Chris Morris and Paul McGrath combined well on the right but again the covering of the Egyptians frustrated Ireland's efforts.
The nearest Ireland came to scoring in the first half was when Steve Staunton blasted a shot goalwards only to see it strike sweeper Hany Ramzy in the solar plexus, and be deflected for a corner.
Sheedy might have had a penalty awarded to him when he was taken out by Ramzy but Belgian referee Marcel Laugenhove waved play on. It was one of many strange decisions that went against Ireland throughout the afternoon, with both Aldridge and Cascarino being constantly held by the Egyptian defenders, offences which were never penalised.
Chris Morris had one of his better games for Ireland with his cross well taken by the Egyptian 'keeper in the 38th minute. Paul McGrath looked a player of real quality as he continually probed the Egyptian defence, who were happy to soak up all the punishment.
An unlucky deflection by Mick McCarthy when his clearance struck Hossan Hassan almost let the striker with a chance of a goal against the run of play. But a timely late tackle by Kevin Moran saved the day for Ireland.
Cascarino, who toiled alongside Aldridge fruitlessy throughout the game, did have one effort in the 42nd minute but he could not get sufficient power into his shot, and the ball was easily gathered by Amad Shobeir.
Jack Charlton had always claimed that this would be a difficult game and so it was proving for an Irish attack which seemed to run out of ideas in front of goal.
One superb effort by Andy Townsend early in the second half was headed for a corner by Hany Ramzy when it looked as though Ireland must break the deadlock.
In 50 minutes. Sheedy had another effort saved by the keeper. Sadly, he was unable to get the right amount of strength into the shot Chris Morris was shown the yellow card by referee Laugenhove in the 54th minutre for a foul on Magdy Tolba, a strange decision in view of some of the earlier misdemeanours by the Egyptians.
With Ireland failing to make any headway, John Aldridge was substituted by Alan McLoughlin with half an hour remaining. But he made little impression with the Egyptian defence holding firm.
Shobeir became his nation's hero with a 68-minute save from Houghton, when the little Liverpool midfield dynamo seized unto a defence splitting pass from Sheedy, only to have his shot brilliantly saved by the keeper.
It was unfortunate that Houghton seemed to be partially unbalanced when firing in his shot. Then Paul McGrath had a shot blocked as Ireland threw caution to the winds and went all out for the elusive goal which was not to come.
Staunton had one effort wide 15 minutes from the end when his shot from 20 yards was inches off target with the keeper beaten.
The time wasting tactics were tolerated by the Belgian referee for long periods but his patience eventually was worn down in the 77th minute when keeper Shobeir was shown the yellow card for deliberately holding up play.
In a desperate last bid to snatch a late victory, manager Charlton introduced Niall Quinn for Cascarino in the 84th minute. But by then it was too late with Egypt happy to settle for a draw and playing out time to deny the Irish.
Now, it’s all up to the match with Holland here in Palermo on Thursday. There is no reason for pessimism as Charlton knew this game was always going to be very difficult. But what a pity. Ireland failed to get on the scoresheet yesterday. Even one goal would have been good enough to guarantee a place in the knock-out stages. Now the work must start all over again.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND — Bonner (Celtic): Morris (Celtic). Staunton (Liverpool), McCarthy (Millwall). Moran (Blackburn). McGrath (Aston Villa). Houghton (Liverpool). Townsend (Norwich). Aldridge (Real Sociedad). Cascarino (Aston Villa). Sheedy (Everton). Subs — McLoughlin (Swindon) for Aldridge (64 min.). Quinn (Man. City) for Cascarino
EGYPT — Shobeir; I. Hassan. Yassein. H. Ramzy. Y.ikun. Tolba. Youssef. A_'_uiel-Ghani. H. Hassan. El-Kass. Oraby. Aldou. Subs — Abu Zeid for Tolba (60 mins). Abdel-Hamid for El-Kass (76 mins).