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A tournament of regrets far beyond the missing captain

Aidan Fitzmaurice


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Game of millimetres: Gaizka Mendieta’s penalty somehow squirms past Shay Given to eliminate Ireland from the 2002 World Cup. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Game of millimetres: Gaizka Mendieta’s penalty somehow squirms past Shay Given to eliminate Ireland from the 2002 World Cup. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Game of millimetres: Gaizka Mendieta’s penalty somehow squirms past Shay Given to eliminate Ireland from the 2002 World Cup. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

A millimetre. That was the difference between success and failure, between delight and despair, for Ireland at the 2002 World Cup finals.

The Sliding Door involved with penalties opened in Ireland's favour in Genoa in 1990, when Packie Bonner saved the kick from Daniel Timofte and then David O'Leary scored the key penalty. In 2002, it was Shay Given facing Gaizka Mendieta, only for the Spaniard to score.


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