Football round-up

The ‘lambs’ held off the Swedish wolves gaining a 1-1 draw in Stockholm and the Republic of Ireland squeaked a draw against Cyprus, 1-1. England are left relying on other results after defeat in Russia 2-1. Scotland faltered losing to Georgia 2-0. Wales defeated minnows San Marino 2-1.

  • dewi

    We have beat San Marino – I’m sure someone will tell me where they lie in the world rankings – thank the Lord England lost.

  • slug

    NI didn’t play badly today.

  • Doctor Who

    A well deserved draw for OWC and could even have nicked it late on.
    At the start of the tournament a realistic points tally of 18 is what we where really aiming for, we are on 17, but the points have been taken in the games we weren´t supposed to get any.
    It´s a case of what could have been if we had taken the points off Iceland.
    It´s even more annoying seeing Iceland getting stuffed by Liechtenstein.
    Still mathematically possible that we can make it, but realistically we want now to finish as high as possible, perhaps third on 21 points.

    Onwards and upwards.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Tonight’s result will surely bring an end to Staunton’s era. Sad to say it, but Stan should never have been appointed in the first place and results under his leadership reflect that unfortunate reality.

    The awful truth tonight was that Cyprus should and could have won the game easily.

    A good result for the north, though it does look like qualification will prove beyond them.

    And, with other results on the night, we could be looking at a Euro Championships with no local interest from these islands..

  • Bran Mak Morn

    A decent result for Northern Ireland but I feel we could have nicked it. I was a bit surprised at the ROI result, but I won’t be surprised to hear the usual gurning about a joint NI/ROI team from the usual suspects. I fully expect both teams to grow in the next competitiion.

    As for England – I can still barely stifle my laughter.

  • Billy


    I couldn’t agree more. The performance tonight was simply awful and, in truth, Cyprus should have won with some ease.

    I see that Stan has said he will be staying but I hope that is just “heat of the moment” bravado.

    The real fault lies with the FAI who not only appointed someone with no top level management experience (6 months as assistant at Walsall!) but gave them a 4 year deal.

    The tragedy is that the RoI have a great crop of young players who, with the right coaching + management, could look at qualifying for the big tournaments again.

    The FAI should be looking at prospective managers now (in preparation for the World Cup campaign). I really hope that, in the cold light of day, Stan reconsiders his position. If not, the FAI should have the balls to admit that they got it wrong and dismiss him.

    Decent result for NI but, as you say, qulaification looks very unlikely.

  • GavBelfast

    Why on earth would Staunton resign when he’s got a mega-money contract?

    I saw the ‘highlights’ on Sky, it could have been a repeat of the Nicosia game, which would have ended-up running the risk of the republic finishing one from bottom with a tricky last game to come in Cardiff next month.

    As for Ireland, honour restored, but what a crazy group – we can take 4 points from Sweden, but none from Iceland, then they go and get whopped by a team with a population the size of Newtownards!!!

  • Gav im sure you ment to say northern ireland there is no ireland team

  • GavBelfast

    Yes, by Ireland I meant Northern Ireland as the team is called these days.

  • Mick Fealty

    Discipline Gav. Discipline.

  • Billy


    “Why on earth would Staunton resign when he’s got a mega-money contract?”

    That’s a very valid point. Hence my annoyance at the FAI for giving him a 4 year deal.
    Most deals are for 2 years i.e. the duration of a qualifying campaign.

    It is hard to fathom why the FAI gave a 4 year deal to anyone, let alone someone with Staunton’s total lack of experience who was clearly a major risk.

    Stauton was a great player for the RoI and commands a lot of respect among fans (he is largely credited along with Niall Quinn for keeping things together in the 2002 World Cup).

    I believe that if he left now, people would accept that he was the wrong appointment but that he gave it his best and it just didn’t work out.

    The longer things drag on (and the worse his behaviour at press conferences etc becomes), the more damage he does to his reputation.

    As I understand it, he is independently wealthy from property investments etc and so does not need a mega payout from the FAI.

    I (probably naively) hope that he will realise that he’s not up to the job and resign and/or agree a reasonable payoff from the FAI.

    If he doesn’t do so, either the FAI will have to pay out big time and damage investment in Irish football or he will stay for another 2 years and we can forget the 2010 World Cup.

    IMO, if Staunton refuses to face facts and stays on purely for money (wages or payoff), then he will be seen as someone who places his own arrogance and greed above the good of Irish football.

    I guess that time will tell.

    BTW, do you favour keeping Nigel W as NI manger or would you replace him after this camapaign?

  • Outsider

    Honour restored Im very pleased with NI performance tonight, I felt we outplayed Sweden.

    We need to win one competitive match away from home against a reasonable opposition, we have to beat Spain.

  • Outsider

    BTW, do you favour keeping Nigel W as NI manger or would you replace him after this camapaign?


    Hes made it clear hes not interested in staying beyond this campaign and wants to get back to championship asap.

  • Billy


    Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that.

    I thought NI did well tonight although I would say that a draw was a fair result.

    I honestly can’t see NI beating Spain away – they could certainly get a draw if they play well.

    Frankly, the NI team is currently a better bet than the RoI Team and I think that will certainly remain the case as long as Staunton is in charge.

  • USA

    The game against Sweden was shown in the US tonight. A deserved point for the north.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Yes, by Ireland I meant Northern Ireland as the team is called these days.’

    Yes indeed Gav it barely seems 85 years since Northern Ireland’s inception. How time flies.

  • Token Dissent

    A good performance by Northern Ireland, though Sweden were lacklustre.

    Sammy Clingan was again superb – the unsung hero of the campaign. McCartney was impressive, and it was great to have Craigan re-established. Sproule had a decent game, though his pace wasn’t utilised enough.

    If only we had picked up even 3 points from the two Iceland games and Lativa away…

    Flicking over to RTE for their post-match analysis was like entering a morgue. Dunphy and the lads were surprisingly fair, acknowledging that Stan has been a great servant to Irish football, but just not up to the job. Are Republic fans regretting the dismissal of Kerr? Is David O’Leary a possibility?

  • Cormac

    Felt bad for Cyprus – they were the better team.

    Once again the biggest cheers in the pub were reserved for Eamon Dunphy’s comments.

    It was only when the panel came on at half-time that people asked for the TV to be turned up!!

  • J Kelly

    I cant ever see Ireland or NI qualifying for a major competition. Probably Scotland and Wales in same boat.

  • Pounder

    Very pleasing night from my point of view. England made to look like prize turkeys and someone who isn’t Healey scoring in the right end this time. Very solid display by the team. Is it me or is Sky a bit of a scud on the team. Every time they showed us live we get beat badly yet last night and Worthy’s first match we win and both where BBC coverage?

  • Wang Kerr

    Stan needs to go at the end of this qualifying campaign. No more excuses. Most of the FAI should resign along with him, fall on their swords as they haven’t the slightest f*cking clue when it comes to football at this level.

    No doubt there’s plenty of blazers in the FAI – as there seems to be in most sporting organisations, not just in Ireland – who turned out a few times for Pat’s/Shelbourne/Shamrock Rovers etc 25 years ago who think that makes them some kind of connoisseur, but sorry, in the real world that doesn’t cut it. I don’t care how long someone has been involved in football, to perform as badly as Staunton and the FAI have over the last 2 years is just not acceptable.

    If the average person on the street performed in such a manner in their jobs it wouldn’t be tolerated and the Irish football supporters – well, maybe it’s stretching it to say ‘they deserve better’, ‘cos I’m not really sure they do actually, but the point is the performance just hasn’t been delivered, and as with any job, the contract should therefore be terminated.

    For anybody to suggest that we don’t have the players to compete at this level is absolute and utter bullshit. If Scotland can top a group with the 2 world cup finalists of last year, accumulate 25 odd points, if Denmark can go and win the f*cking competition without even qualifying for the finals (1992) and if a country like Greece- GREECE! can win the 2004 competition beating the hosts in the final, then surely we could have managed to qualify for the last 2 tournaments given the mediocre standard of the qualifying groups we have been in.

  • darth rumsfeld

    just back from Stockholm

    Great trip, and felt a bit like a victory, though we all felt Sir David was going to apply the coup de grace right at the end. Hope we never draw bloody Iceland ever again.

    Interestingly we were with someone from Londonderry who had won a trip to the match in a competition- chatting with him,he was obviously from the community which supposedly can’t support the team, yet he seemed to be enjoying himself quite well, and went as mental as the rest of us when the goal went in. He was certainly very welcome. Perhaps he’ll come with us again.

    Also very pleased to see the large Donegal banner in town and at the ground.

  • on the ditch

    Looks like the Republic and all 4 British teams will fail to qualify this time around.

    Who’ll we support in the Finals?

  • darth rumsfeld

    the dutch, obviously- assuming they get there
    oranje boven!!

    I’l get me sash

  • Poor result from the partitionist side.

    Great to see the original Ireland regain some pride with a solid enough performance (despite the Swedes anaemic display).

    Briefly I felt that Craigan playing alongside Hughes provided both the team and supporters with a lot more confidence at the back, although Hughes might have done better with the speculative back post cross which led to the goal. McCartney I detest, but he provided overlaps going past Brunt.

    In midfield Davis and Clingan were neat and tidy. Brunt was frustrating at times, but worked hard and occasionally delivered although he is erratic with his crosses. really with a left foot like that he has to be more consistent. Whoever said Sproule was a good outlet obviously is wrong as he was the worst player in the NI side by a long way.

    Healy threatened occasionally and Laff overcame appalling treatment by the ref to score a wonder goal.

    Still don’t think Worthy is the man. He’s let indiscipline creap into the squad.

  • rubin

    ‘Poor result from the partitionist side’

    Is that the one that left because of the sectarianism of the Belfast leadership?

    No change there then.

  • Greenflag

    Fire Staunton, McLaren , Toshack , Worthington , and O’Sullivan (rugby union) preferably al pon the same day :That should please the mob ?

    Has the thought struck anybody that perhaps the people from these islands are just not up to international competitive standards for these kinds of sports anymore?

  • Billy Bung ’em

    No British or Irish teams succeeding in European football any more? Its going the same way as the bloody Eurovision Song Contest. All the Soviet cast-offs looking after themselves with our lads not getting a look-in.

  • “Is that the one that left because of the sectarianism of the Belfast leadership?”


    Actually the seeds of the split came from as far back as 1919 when an Ulster side had been attacked by supporters in Dublin whilst playing a Leinster FA representative side. The actual split was the Leinster FA throwing their toys out of the pram because a Irish Cup replay involving Glenavon and Shelbourne was due to be played in the North for safety reasons due to terrorist wars in the South.

  • rubin


    “However, there was always a feeling among clubs from outside the Belfast area that the IFA favoured Ulster based, Protestant, clubs – especially when selecting sides for international matches.”

  • DK

    rubin and chekov – are you 2 seriously going to troll us all to death with a split from nearly 100 years ago?

  • willowfield

    Gerry Lvs Castro

    Yes indeed Gav it barely seems 85 years since Northern Ireland’s inception. How time flies.

    What is now known as the NI team was officially known as Ireland until 1954; continued officially to be known as Ireland for the purpose of the Home Internationals until their demise in the 1980s; and in practice was widely known colloquially as Ireland until the 1970s and, by some, is still known as Ireland today.


    Not very good to rely on quoting from a biased source (the FAI!) which in turn is making an unattributed assertion about “perceptions”.

  • Doctor Who


    The FAI would say that, after all they are SOLELY responsible for creating a second association in Ireland. I think their continued poaching of IFA talent ensures that youn can never take anything they say too seriously.

  • Billy Bung ’em

    The usual suspects are emerging to have the same old, tired debate…..

    Seems probable that the 4 British teams and the Republic won’t qualify-when was the last tournament when all of these teams failed to qualify?

  • Token Dissent

    Billy, was the 1984 Euros the last time?

    Chekov, I maintain that though he didn’t have a great game Sproule showed potential for the future. He has the pace to hurt teams, something that the technically superior Brunt lacks.

    Greenflag, the Republic certainly have the talent to be performing better. For example on paper Doyle and Keane is a good partnership.

  • TD – Sproule is not a raw youngster. He’s more or less at the prime of his career and whilst he has raw pace, he simply doesn’t have the skills to compliment it. We can only ever look to use him as an outlet with the pace that he has and last night he didn’t provide that. In actual fact when we were looking to get the ball wide, it was the much slower Brunt, or George McCartney on the overlap who were showing for the ball.

    I can only see Sproule as an option from the bench when opposition legs are tiring. I’ve yet to see any evidence that he has any product to match his pace, which is an opinion I’ve held since his Institute days. Grant McCann can play wide right and I don’t think he would have done any worse last night.

  • Billy Bung ’em

    Think you’re right Token-funny enough, that tournament had a reputation as one of the best ever for the quality of football played.No coincidence that ‘our’ 5 teams weren’t there?

  • Token Dissent

    Billy, purely a co-incidence I am sure! I am too young to remember it, but Jackie Fullerton and John O’Neill mentioned that Northern Ireland only just missed out on 1984. That was after beating West Germany home and away. Beating the good sides and still mucking it up…some things never change.

    Chekov, you may be right. I have to admit to only having seen Sprould play one full 90 mins for Hibs (plus a few sub appearances). A good impact sub would still be a welcome addition to the squad.

  • 1984 was the last occasion. Ireland were agonisingly close to reaching the finals, and would have done so had West Germany not scored a winner against Albania with 11 minutes to go. Of course that was the campaign when we’d beaten them twice 1-0 with goals from ian Stewart and Norman Whiteside. I think drawing 0-0 away to Albania made the difference that time. A little bit of deja vu this time then given that two performances against Iceland and an away defeat to an awful latvia team have done the damage.

  • 1984 was the last occasion

    Also the last time (I think) that “only” eight teams competed in the Finals; bit of a contrast to next year when basically everybody and their granny will be playing in Austria/Switzerland.

    Or, almost everybody and their granny.

  • O’Neill. I stand to be corrected but I think that the 16 team format was only introduced in the 1996 European Championships. I’m nearly certain that Sweden and Germany prior to that were 8 team tournaments.

  • willowfield

    Chekov is correct.

    1996 was the first time there were 16 teams in the Euro finals.

    From 1980 to 1992 there were eight teams.

    From 1960 to 1976 there were only four teams.

    Re. occasions when no teams from “these islands” qualified for a major tournament, TD is correct about 1984 Euros. Other occasions:

    Euro 1976
    Euro 1972
    Euro 1964
    Euro 1960 (although only ROI entered)
    World Cup 1938 (only Eire entered)
    World Cup 1934 (only Free State entered)
    World Cup 1930 (none of the five teams entered)

  • Greenflag

    ‘Greenflag, the Republic certainly have the talent to be performing better.’

    No point in having ‘talent’ unless it’s used to good effect otherwise Messrs Delaney and Staunton might as well send the team to the World Tiddleywinks Championship 🙁

    Use it or lose it as someone said !

  • Valenciano

    An expansion to 24 teams has been mooted for some time. Although UEFA have ruled it out for 2012 it’s quite likely that it will be expanded to 24 teams for 2016. That will give both Irelands a fighting chance of qualification and maybe even hosting the event as three co-hosts would then be an option.

    re:1984, ironically under current rules, NI would have qualified.

  • lee

    ‘I think their continued poaching of IFA talent ensures that youn can never take anything they say too seriously.’

    dr who

    Simply Irishmen playing for their country. The Ireland team is supported by the majority on the island, so only natural to have Belfast & Derry lads playing alongside Dublin & Wexford lads.

  • Sure a person born in NI has the right to chose his country. However he does not have the right to benefit from one countries coaching and help to then declare for the other country when it suits him, as is the case of Darron Gibson. The facts are he represented NI up to the U19 team. The IFA provided the coaching and facilities which helped him get noticed by Manchester United scouts.

  • lee

    Gibson never represented the north’s team at u19 level and never even make a competitive appearance at u17 level.

    It helps if you have some idea what you are talking about pounder

    He has represented ireland at u17,u19,u21,B international level & senior international level.

    No difference between Gibson & young lads like McShane, Keogh, McGeady etc…All proud to represent their country.

  • lee

    ‘never even made’

  • An expansion to 24 teams has been mooted for some time. Although UEFA have ruled it out for 2012 it’s quite likely that it will be expanded to 24 teams for 2016

    Are we expecting Europe to “expand” further by then?
    With the collapse of the USSR and Yugoslavia, there was a logic behind increasing it to 16 teams in 1996 (thanks Chekov and Willowfield!).

  • Valenciano

    Oneill, for the same reason the World Cup expanded to 32 teams, despite the world not “expanding.” Money.

  • “The Ireland team is supported by the majority on the island, ”

    Refreshing to hear southerners are getting behind the IFA side.

  • gram

    Pounder: However he does not have the right to benefit from one countries coaching and help to then declare for the other country when it suits him, as is the case of Darron Gibson.<

  • Austin

    From the RTE Web-site…

    ‘FAI wins battle for Gibson
    Monday, 22 October 2007 18:54
    It seems Darren Gibson has been cleared to play for the Republic of Ireland.

    An FAI delegation met with FIFA in Zurich today to discuss Gibson’s future.

    The IFA insist that the Derry-born midfielder should not be representing the Republic because he was born in Northern Ireland.

    The word from today’s meeting is that FIFA will not act retrospectively on such cases, and they will be making an official announcement later in the week.’

  • circles

    RTE is talking crap-Big Jim Gracey from the Sunday Life has already clearly stated that Gibson will be forced to play for Northern Ireland by FIFA. My money’s on Jim to have called this one right!

  • Realist


    How can anybody be “forced” to play for anyone they don’t wish to play for?

    What part of “No thanks, Northern Ireland”, did you not understand from Gibson?

    Gracey’s been proved to be full of keek.

    The first sentence in his article on 14th February turned out to be just made up oul ballix.

  • circles

    Gracey knows his stuff. His point is that Gibson will not be deemed eligible by FIFA to play for the Republic thus ending his international career unless he belatedly chooses to play for the country of his birth, Northern Ireland.

    Watch this space and see Gracey duly vindicated.

    By the way, what first sentence of his are you on about?

  • adrec

    Think RTE have spoken too soon on this one-still confident things will go our way over the poaching of our players by the FAI,

  • tony

    Does this mean that n.i’s German/English goalkeeper will still be able to represent ‘his’ country. 🙂

  • adrec

    Not funny Tony-a different issue entirely.
    On the subject of Gibson, the best he can hope for is that FIFA rescind his competitive debut for ROI, thus avoiding being sent into international oblivion. He may then choose to play for NI, quite possibly making his debut at the Euro finals in Austria next summer.

  • There’s a distinct whiff of spin on that statement from the FAI, but the key phrase, I think, is ” will not act retrospectively”; making you think, they keep Gibson, whilst ensuring that any future players born in NI will not have the option of turning out for the Republic.

    Re Gracey knowing his stuff, you’ve got to be joking Circles, read back some of the rubbish he’s written about the national stadium debate, flip-flop-flip would be the best summary of his “insightful analysis”.

  • rubin

    one for the courts

  • No doubt about it! The IFA have won this one! Yeeeoooooooo! Slap it up every plastic breakaway fan!

  • Realist


    Gracey’s article in the Life on 14th October (not February, as I posted earlier), had this as it’s first line:

    “Northern Ireland and Republic football chiefs have been summoned to a top level FIFA showdown in Zurich tomorrow for an expected ruling on the Darren Gibson tug-of-war between the two countries”

    Not true.

    The IFA delegation went to Zurich on 15th October – the FAI only yesterday.

    Seems like Gibson will be permitted to play for the Republic Of Ireland,with a strengthening of the eligibility rule in favour of the IFA, going forward.

  • Gibson isn’t really the issue. This is a great victory for the IFA! And for sanity!

  • Realist

    Today’s Irish Independent cuts through the Gibson “spin”.

    “The FAI have won the Darron Gibson battle with the IFA; but the Association has lost the war.

    FIFA have told the FAI they can keep the services of the Northern Ireland-born midfielder, currently on loan at Wolves.

    Also, FIFA won’t impose any sanction over Gibson’s involvement for the Republic of Ireland in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

    But going forward, as they like to say, the future isn’t so bright for the FAI, who may no longer quote the Good Friday Agreement as an excuse for drafting up players born on the island of Ireland.

    From now on, FIFA statutes count, which means the FAI can only call on players born in the Republic, or whose parents, or grand-parents, are born in the Republic.

    In that sense, the outcome is a positive result for the IFA, as they need no longer worry about having their nest disturbed by FAI poachers from south of the Border”

  • Dec


    The Independent may cut through the ‘spin’, but it appears to be doing so in advance of any actual announcement from FIFA. If the announcement does go the way of the IFA then it will be clearly subject to appeal as it would essentially prevent Irish citizens playing for their country.

  • “it would essentially prevent Irish citizens playing for their country.”

    Clearly it wouldn’t as FIFA are taking a territorial view of eligiblity. Dry your eyes. Plastics like you have lost. No Irish player will be playing for the Irish team to which they have no connection any more.

  • Realist


    Appeal away.

  • Dec


    We’ll wait for the decision first, eh.


    Eloquent contribution as always.

  • Realist

    “We’ll wait for the decision first, eh”

    Oh, absolutely Dec.

    We’ll wait until it’s “official”.

  • Dec

    Good, we’re agreed then. Anything else?

  • A N Other

    Re: Chekov,

    Lads, stop feeding that troll.

  • Funny how someone posting under the name A N Other is slabbering about trolling, when sock puppeting is right up there with trolls in terms of annoyance.

  • Dec

    Funny how someone posting under the name A N Other is slabbering about trolling, when sock puppeting is right up there with trolls in terms of annoyance.

    Posted by Pounder on Oct 23, 2007 @ 01:46 PM

    Physician, heal thyself ;]

  • “Chekov

    Eloquent contribution as always.”

    Tony Kane is magic, he wears an Ulster hat
    Steve Staunton said come play for us but Tony said feck that
    For Tony is an Ulsterman he wears the shirt with pride
    He plays for our wee country green and white army on his side!


  • Dec

    Yes Chekov

    Great rhyme. I’m sure your parents were immensely proud when you first played it to them, accompanied by xylophone in your bedroom.
    However, reality is somewhat different from your musical fantasies (and most of your posts). FIFA, in the light of the Darron Gibson affair, had asked the FAI to temporaily hold off from playing any more Northern-born players. Don Givens, Manger of the Republic’s U-21 set-up, told Kane he wouldn’t be selected for the upcoming games. The increasingly desperate Nigel Worthington asked Kane to join Northern ireland’s squad for the Latvia and Iceland games which, as Don Givens predicted, Kane watched from the stands. Sorry to bring the hob-nailed boots of reality crashing into your GAWA fantasy world.

  • It REALLY REALLY hurts eh Dec. 🙂

  • Dec


    Back under the bridge with you! Go now now, Shooh!

  • There’s a warm feeling inside when you support a team your eligible to play for and which doesn’t make any extra-territorial claims Dec. A warm feeling.