Friday 17 August 2018

Euro 88: Ireland's moments of reckoning

Republic of Ireland's Ray Houghton celebrates his goal against England with team-mates Ronnie Whelan and John Aldridge, left. Photo: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland's Ray Houghton celebrates his goal against England with team-mates Ronnie Whelan and John Aldridge, left. Photo: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
David Kelly

David Kelly

June 12, Neckarstadion, Stuttgart (Att: 51,573)

Ireland 1 (Houghton 6) England 0

We all know who put the ball in the English net but Ray Houghton did much more than that; keeping John Barnes quiet was an even more devilish task. Bobby Robson erred in selection, perhaps complacently; omitting Glenn Hoddle.

Buoyed by the early goal, Ireland upset the English with what youngsters these days might call a ‘soft press’; they did allow England a little latitude in possession but not so much that their wingers got on the ball.

Ireland – Bonner; Morris, McCarthy, Moran, Hughton; Houghton, McGrath, Whelan, Galvin; Stapleton (captain), Aldridge.  Subs: Quinn for Stapleton (63), Sheedy for Galvin (76).

England – Shilton; Stevens, Wright, Adams, Sansom; Waddle, Webb, Robson (captain), Barnes; Lineker, Beardsely. Subs: Hoddle for Webb (60); Hateley for Beardsley (82).

Ref – S Kirschen (East Germany).

 

June 15, Niedersachsenstadion, Hanover (Att: 38,308)

Ireland 1 (Whelan 39) Soviet Union 1 (Protasov 75)

This was the most unIrish performance from a line-up showing just one change – Kevin Sheedy for the injured Paul McGrath – from the opening day.

Deprived his comfort blanket of a third central defender operating in midfield, Charlton gambled on Ronnie Whelan to fill the role. He need not have worried. Whelan’s goal made him a more famous shinner than even Gerry Adams.

Ireland still employed their pressing game and Russia were forced to play the long one; they would wait and Oleh Protosov’s late goal was the sting in the tail.

Ireland – Bonner; Morris, McCarthy, Moran, Hughton; Houghton, Sheedy, Whelan, Galvin; Stapleton (captain), Aldridge. Subs: Cascarino for Stapleton (81).

Soviet Union – Dasaev (captain); Demyanenko, Kuznetsov, Sulakvelidze, Khidiyatullin; Rats, Aleinikov, Mikhailichenko, Belanov; Zavarov, Protasov. Subs: Gotsmanov for Sulakvelidze (46), Chanov for Dasaev (68).

Ref – E Soriano Aladren (Spain).

 

June 18, Parkstadion, Gelsenkirchen (Att: 70,800)

Ireland 0 Holland 1 (Kieft 82)

The first recorded cricket googly to decide a major tournament match; that Wim Kieft managed to get his header in still does so many heads in even 30 years later.

The truth is Ireland were a tired team and their energetic pace was catching up with them after a third draining effort in high temperatures in just eight days.

Ireland – Bonner; Morris, McCarthy, Moran, Hughton; Houghton, McGrath, Whelan, Galvin; Stapleton (captain), Aldridge. Subs: Sheedy for Morris (46), Cascarino for Stapleton (83).

Holland – Van Breukelen; Van Tiggele, R Koeman, Van Aerle; Rijkaard, Wouters, Vanenburg, Muhren, E Koeman; Gullit (captain), Van Basten. Subs: Kieft for E Koeman (51), Bosman for Muhren (79).

Ref – H Brummeier (Austria).

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