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June 2002, 21:55 Seoul - Tokyo

SPAIN 1 : 1 IRELAND REPUBLIC a.e.t. 3:2 penalty shoot-out

Spain won the day on penalties after an unbearably dramatic second-round match in Suwon, Korea. Heavy Spanish pressure paid dividends early as the red-clad side went a goal to the good after only eight minutes. A late spot kick by Robbie Keane for Ireland forced the match into goalless extra time. The Spaniards will meet the winner of the Korea – Itlay clash in the quarter-finals.

Fernando Morientes grabbed his third goal of the tournament with a well-placed header in the opening minutes of the match. Spain conceded a hard penalty midway through the second half, though Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas did out Ian Harte’s try. But the youngster could do nothing to keep out the second penalty taken coolly by Keane to send the match to extra time and eventually penalties, where Spain won 3-2 with a cool strike from Gaizka Mendieta.

The match got off to a fast start, with both sides looking dangerous in the attack. Robbie Keane had the first chance of the game, a shot from a medium angle at the edge of the area that whistled past the far post (3’).

Spain had their first chance minutes later, and they took it. Puyol served a cross from the right wing perfectly onto the head of Fernando Morientes, and the Real Madrid striker’s header left Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given with no chance (1:0, 8’).

Ireland responded well to the early deficit. They began to maintain possession and shut down Spain’s technical play in midfield. But Spain weathered the storm, and after some frustration they adjusted by mixing in the occasional long ball and quick counter-attack. Before long, Spain were once again looking like the more dangerous team.

The Irish defence, though, kept Spain in check with a well-organized offside trap. In total, the assistant referee raised his flag on the Spanish forwards nine times before the interval.

Keane looked close to getting things level after Matt Holland’s pass found the Leeds United striker racing into the middle of the penalty area. A tough bounce, though, forced Keane to swivel awkwardly, and his flick backwards went high over the crossbar (43’).

Spain very nearly opened the second half just as they did the first. A brilliant turn by Raul set up Morientes with a world of space and time , but he drove his shot from 15 metres straight at Given, and it bounced off the keeper and clear of danger (47’).

Soon after, Ireland had a golden opportunity when Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas couldn’t handle a high ball in the area. He dropped it onto the foot of Kevin Kilbane, but the Sunderland man’s shot was cleared off the line by Fernando Hierro (50’).

Ireland seemed to have the break they needed when Juanfran was called for a foul on Damien Duff in the penalty area, but Ian Harte’s spot-kick went right at Casillas. The ball bounced out tantalisingly in front of the goal, but Kilbane missed badly with the Spanish keeper still on the ground and the net gaping (63’).

Raul almost extended Spain’s lead after winning a high ball in the area. He brought it down well onto his left foot, but Given came out to cut off the angle and make the save (72’). Then Duff, the chief danger man for the Irish on the night, gave Spanish fans a scare when his shot from 20 metres missed the far post by a hair (80’).

Minutes later, Casillas came up big as Keane got in on goal for a chance at a half-volley. The Real Madrid keeper bravely came off his line and blocked the shot, exposing himself to a painful-looking collision with Keane (84’).

When it looked like it was all over for Ireland, they got another chance from the penalty spot when Hierro was called for a foul on Niall Quinn. Keane took the shot this time, and he made no mistake. Ireland had new life (1:1, 90’).

With Raul and Morientes having been substituted off in the second half as Spain looked to protect their lead, Gaizka Mendieta led the attack for the Spaniards. He had the first chance of extra time when his shot from the edge of the penalty area went wide of the right post (95’).

But Spain did not create much else. They were forced to play with 10 men after Albelda went off with an injury and they were left without a substitute. Ireland maintained pressure for most of the first half of extra time, but the Spanish defence held firm.

Keane almost had the golden goal early in the second extra period, but he missed wide to the right with his volley from a step outside the area (108’). Then Hierro had a chance on a free kick, but he struck his shot into the wall.

Then Baraja and David Connolly traded near-misses from 25 metres. Baraja’s shot was saved well by a diving Given, and then Connolly’s shot missed just outside the left post (112’). Neither side would go close again, and extra time gave way to cruel penalties.

The spot-kicks, Casillas was magnificent. He saved shots by Connolly and Kilbane, and Holland missed off the crossbar, with only Keane and Steve Finnan finding the net for Ireland. For Spain, Juan Carlos Valeron and Juanfran missed, but strikes by Hierro, Baraja, and Mendieta were enough to start Spain’s celebration and send them through to the quarter-finals.


Source:  FIFAWorldCup.com


   
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