Posts Tagged ‘ estonia ’

News in Brief – Mourners Upset As Travellers Brawl At Cemetery

fightIt’s that time again, for our weekly round-up of all the mad crap that goes on in this country.

Without wanting to upset anyone NIB starts with some terrible, terrible news. Louis Walsh is going to leave the X Factor. Noooooooooo. Anyway on with this week’s news. Continue reading

Euro Odyssey For Boys In Green

Irish fans can begin planning their Euro 2012 trips in earnest this morning after Giovanni Trapattoni’s men finished off the formality of qualifying for the tournament on home soil last night.
Over 51,000 green-clad fans packed into the Aviva Stadium to cheer the Boys in Green on as they looked to finish off Estonia and book their place amongst Europe’s elite in Poland and the Ukraine next summer.
There was a celebratory mood in the stadium from the off as Dublin witnessed one of its biggest ever football parties.
Following the team’s heroic 4-0 away win in Tallinn on Friday night, last night’s game was always likely to be something of a damp squib with the Irish team eventually settling for a 1-1 draw as they eased through to the finals.
In his typical cautious fashion, Trapattoni took no chances with his team selection, picking an almost full strength first eleven to see the job through.
That meant there were recalls for the injured John O’Shea at right back, while Wolves striker Kevin Doyle came back in to partner Robbie Keane up front after missing the first leg through suspension.
Winger Aiden McGeady was also rested on the night, with Stephen Hunt coming into the team for his 31st cap.
Ireland started brightly enough and could have had a goal within the first five minutes when Doyle flicked on a Shay Given clearance into the path of Robbie Keane.
However the Irish record goalscorer couldn’t add to his impressive tally of 53 international goals as the Estonian keeper Pavel Londak blocked his effort at close range.
Londak was called into the action again soon after when he was forced to parry a shot from Damien Duff, which Keane again latched onto and he looked destined to score, only to see his shot sail wide of the near post.
Spurred on by their early escapes, Estonia started to work their way into the game with Konstantin Vassiljev, their most impressive performer in Tallinn, conducting affairs from central midfield.
However, they continued to look vulnerable at the back, and they finally succumbed 14 minutes before the break after central defender Ragnar Klavan had needlessly conceded a corner.
Doyle got his head to Duff’s left-wing corner and the keeper could only push the ball out to full-back Stephen Ward, who thumped it past him and into the back of the net.
Trapattoni celebrated on the sidelines as the party in the stands went into full swing with qualification now assured.
Given made his first save three minutes later when he got down to claim Vladimir Voskoboinikov’s skidding drive, but his evening was passing largely without incident.
The Estonians returned for the second half in determined mood and once again took the game to Ireland, although it was Ward who came closest to altering the scoreline when he forced Londak to save after cutting inside on to his right-foot from Glenn Whelan’s pass.
Joel Lindpere, whose return to the international fold for the play-off had sparked such excitement, departed having made little impact with 54 minutes gone, although his side’s fortunes changed markedly three minutes later.
Vassiljev picked the ball up inside the Ireland half and having made ground, smashed a 30-yard missile towards goal.
The ball dipped and swerved and although Given managed to get a hand to it, he could not keep it out as the Irish conceded just their second goal in 11 games.
Central defender Richard Dunne might have restored the home side’s lead when he met Keith Andrews’s clipped 67th-minute cross with a firm header, but he directed the ball straight at a grateful Londak.
But there was to be no further drama as the Republic of Ireland qualified on home soil for the first time.
Trapattoni’s men are now likely to be seeded fourth when the draw for the finals is made in Kiev on December 2.
It means our likely opponents will be one of hosts Poland, Ukraine, Spain or Holland in Pot One; England, Italy, Germany or Russia in Pot Two, and, Croatia, Sweden, Greece or Portugal in Pot Three.
Current UEFA co-efficient rankings mean that Ireland are joined in the fourth pot by Denmark, France and the Czech Republic.
Despite what is likely to be a very tough draw, goalkeeper Shay Given said the Irish will be up to the challenge.
He said: “The most important thing is getting there and a lot will depend on the luck of the draw.
“There are some fantastic teams there, but we are sure that some of those teams won’t want to play Ireland either. We are looking forward to mixing with the big teams, just like the good old days.
“I think someone said we were 50/1, so I think we are worth a fiver of anyone’s money.
“Obviously, there are a lot of bigger nations and better teams than us, but on our day, as we have proven over the last number of years, we can play against the best teams.”

Ireland Look To Finish Off Estonians In Style

Ireland host Estonia tomorrow in the second leg of their Euro 2012 qualifier in a match that is simply a formality yet Giovanni Trapattoni and his side are offering their opponents a high level of respect by stating the job is not yet complete.

The boys in green take a 4-0 aggregate lead into the tie having comprehensively disposed of Estonia in Tallinn on Friday night. A header from man of the match Keith Andrews, a brace from Robbie Keane and a goal on his first start from Jonathan Walters sent the travelling fans into raptures.

Many fans will be urging  Trapattoni to blood some youngsters such as Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy but it looks like the Italian will persist with his normal eleven as they attempt to seal qualification for the first time on home soil.

Some elements of the media have been extremely critical of Trapattoni`s long ball approach but the players have stood defiant beside the manager, citing the 4-0 win as proof that his tactics are working.  

Stephen Kelly is definitely out of the tie having pulled up injured. Ireland will welcome back John O`Shea from suspension to fill the void left in defence by the Fulham players absence.

Damien Duff is likely to feature despite taking a knock in Tallinn and Wolves striker Kevin Doyle may return to the starting eleven although Walters has more than earned the right to retain the jersey following his contribution in Estonia.

Newcastle United striker Leon Best has been sent back to his club after he failed to overcome a groin injury.

A party atmosphere is expected at the Aviva tomorrow (kick off 7.45pm) as Ireland will look to see off Estonia in style and reach the European Championships for only the second time.

Unless Tarmo Ruutli and his side can stage a seemly impossible comeback, Irish eyes will shift focus on the upcoming draw for the finals which takes place on December 2nd.

Rampant Irish Crush Estonia

The Republic of Ireland have all but booked their place in the Euro 2012 finals after a scintillating second half blew away nine-man Estonia in Tallinn.
In one of the most important games in manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign, the Boys in Green let loose to score four goals to break the hearts of the stunned Estonians.
Captain Robbie Keane proved the hero of the hour once again as he made one goal and scored a brace himself to lead Ireland to a 4-0 win and leave Tuesday’s second leg at the Aviva Stadium little more than academic.
The game also proved to be a dream first start for Keane’s strike partner Jonathan Walters, who nodded in the crucial second goal midway through the second half to settle Irish nerves.
The huge travelling band of Irish fans were in good voice at kick-off time at the Le Coq arena, with hopes high that Ireland could finally banish their play-off bogey by beating a team placed 34 places behind them in the FIFA ranking table.
The Irish team took to the field in their familiar 4-4-2 formation and apart from missing full-back John O’Shea and suspended striker Kevin Doyle were at full strength for the crucial play-off tussle.
The visiting team started brightly, penning Estonia back in their own half, with Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady looking effective on the wings.
The early pressure paid off in a big way on 13 minutes when midfielder Keith Andrews burst into the box to head the Irish into a deserved lead.
The Ipswich man found space between two Estonian defenders to get his head on the end of an Aiden McGeady cross to send a bullet of a header into the bottom corner past the outstretched reach of Estonian goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko.
The goal should have set the tone for an Irish onslaught, but as has been the case for almost all of the Trappatoni era, the team sat back on their lead and allowed a limited Estonian team to dictate the play for the rest of the first half.
However despite some neat touches in the middle of the park from the home side, they rarely threatened Shay Given’s goal.
Their neat build up play was hampered by some terrible decision-making closer to goal, with a number of their players, including Konstantin Vassiljev and Ragnar Klavan, trying to shoot from impossible angles.
The pressure which appeared to be building on Ireland eased with every shot that sailed over the bar or harmlessly wide.
As their frustration began to mount Estonia suffered a hammer blow just ten minutes before half time, when defender Andei Stepanov was given his marching orders for a reckless challenge on Robbie Keane as the Irish striker bared down on goal.
Stepanov, who had already been booked for a foul on the marauding McGeady, could have no complaints about his red card but it was still a cruel blow for an Estonian team playing in the biggest game of their lives.
It was the type of break that Ireland needed to wrestle control back from the Estonians and despite a fairly lacklustre start to the second half, they eventually started to make their extra man pay.
With McGeady remaining a torn in the Estonians’ side, it was no surprise that the Spartak Moscow man was heavily involved in Ireland’s second goal on 68 minutes.
The tricky winger made a bursting run on the left before cutting inside and unleashing a shot which Pareiko could only parry to the onrushing Robbie Keane.
The LA Galaxy man used all his vast international experience to keep his cool in a crowded box by lobbing the ball back across goal over the heads of a number of Estonian defenders for Jonathan Walters to gleefully head home at the far post.
Walters goal was the cue for wild celebrations amongst the Irish contingent as everyone in green, both on the pitch and in the stadium, began to dream of a first European Championship finals appearance since 1988.
And that dream was to become ever more a reality as Ireland opened up in the last 20 minutes to lay siege to the Estonian goal.
It took just three more minutes of pressure for the Irish to register their third goal, with captain Keane showing his poacher’s instincts to follow up on a low free from Andrews which Pareiko parried and Keane duly dispatched the rebound into the net.
It was all proving a bit too much for a dispirited Estonian side, who were unfortunately reduced to nine men on 77 minutes when central defender Radio Piiroja picked up his second yellow card for a rough tackle on Keane.
The home side’s night of horror was compounded nine minutes later when substitute Stephen Hunt was fouled in the box to give Ireland a penalty which Keane cooly dispatched to wrap up a famous Irish win.
Afterwards, manager Giovanni Trapattoni appeared a little emotional as he paid tribute to his team for a truly professional performance.
And well the Italian could be delighted as every man in his first eleven stepped up to the mark.
Goalkeeper Shay Given did everything that was asked of him, full-backs Stephen Kelly and Stephen Ward had probably their best ever games in an Irish shirt, whilst central defenders Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger barely put a foot wrong all night.
The midfield pairing of Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews proved more dominant than they have in many previous games, while on the wings Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady kept themselves busy throughout.
Further forward, Robbie Keane and Jonathan Walters could both be delighted with their performances as they grabbed crucial goals on the night to ensure that Ireland will now most likely take their place at the summer football festival in Poland and Ukraine next year.