Northern Ireland’s Euro-dream ends…

LAST night’s disappointment for Northern Ireland’s Euro 2008 hopes was tempered by the good news that England (in a softer group) also failed to go through. Bye bye, McLaren. Ah well, at least NI can hold their heads high – particularly Healy, with his record 13 goals. (It wasn’t that long ago we were wondering if NI could score a single goal in 13 games!) Still, how many years is it since none of the UK or Ireland teams went through to the next stage? And someone mentioned to me that the IFA’s ‘never-on-a-Sunday’ rule had a narrow escape at the weekend – if the waterlogged pitch had been declared unplayable on the Saturday, apparently UEFA would have forced the game to be played the following day. Dunno if it’s true, maybe the anoraks can help…

  • Terracetoff

    Gonzo

    According to Radio 5 Live on Saturday UEFA would have insisted the match be played within 24 hours if it could not have been played on Saturday. Therefore there was a big problem for the IFA (which 5 Live reported). Although there is a twice postponed match between Serbia and someone which is due to take place at the weekend.

  • J Kelly

    I have to be honest glad to see them both beat. a quiet summer watching football not being tortured by silly journalist expecing england to win or jackie fullerton remembering spain in 1982. cant wait. ur def not brazil your out

  • Séamaí

    Well said J Kelly.

  • scrabopower

    Neither, last time I looked, were the ROI!

    Fancy a kickabout this summer then?

  • Patrick

    That’s the difference Northern Ireland know there are not Brazil. The Republic and England think they are, Or could be.

  • Outsider

    True football fans will still be watching the tournament as there will be lots on offer both in terms of skill and spectacle.

    England generally have been quite boring since France 98 in the latter stages of these tournaments and for that reasons amongst others I am glad they are out.

    NI need to sort out proper TV coverage, if Sky have the rights then all NI matches need to be televised and not just the home ones. In addition to this a permanent manager who will not leave midway through a campaign is required and the stadium issue needs to be finalised. It seems that Windsor park is the only option so I am hoping the sports minister will get it upgrade with an increased seating capacity to allow more fans of NI the chance to watch the team and not just those who are lucky enough to buy the block tickets.

  • Submariner

    Carlsberg don’t do international football nights but if they did…….

  • nmc

    A succesful campaign by the Scots and NI. Fair play. ROI needed to do dreadfully, just to get a fresh start with a new manager. Deliriously happy to see Engerland gettin bate, I know it’s petty but I don’t care. As for the summer kickabout, it sounds great hope to see some friendly internationals now. We can all have a crack at beating the English…

  • pith

    England out means Austria and Switzerland will save a bit on policing costs next year.

  • scrabopower

    I’m sure Wales, NI, Scotland and ROI might be up for some sort of tournament. Probably not England though!

    Delighted to see them getting beaten. If England had qualified, NI’s and Scotland’s campaigns would have been forgotten about.

  • Am I sensing a little glee from both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland fans that England went down, hard. Seems maybe we have more im common than we thought…..

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Hard luck to NI. The campaign was memorable and they should be very proud of their achievements.

    England were utterly pathetic. Croatia completely outclassed them. I know the scoreline was 3-2, but it was a one-sided hammering, no matter what the scoreboard says. It’s only a shame (from England’s point of view) that Croatia didn’t hit them for six or seven, as that might have shocked them into some sort of humility, that might lead to a more honest reappraisal of where they’re at in world football terms.

    Because make no mistake, last night was a Hungary 1953 moment. It was Ferraris against tractors. The much-hyped English superstars looked totally bereft of ideas, of organisation, indeed of basic skills. No doubt blame will be laid at McClaren’s door and English football will bluster on regardless, slipping ever further from seriousness.

  • Mike

    Sadly it was just too much for NI last night, Spain were too good for us on the night. Though we lost by one (hideously deflected) goal it was all academic in the end since Sweden eventually overcame Latvia, even if Latvia gave us some hope with their equaliser. With 0-0 and 1-1 resptectively at half time we looked like having something of an outside chance still but it wasn’t to be.

    A lot to be proud of for NI fans in this campaign, some great victories and memories, and many encouraging signs for the World Cup qualifiers. When you consider we finished out last Euro qualifiers bottom of the group without scoring a goal, we’ve come a long way.

    Our record against the top three seeds has been excellent. Unfortunately losses to Iceland twice and Latvia once cost us dear – six more points and we’d have qualified.

    As it ended up our record against each team was:

    Spain – 1 win, 1 defeat
    Sweden – 1 win, 1 draw
    Denmark – 1 win, 1 draw
    Latvia – 1 win, 1 defeat
    Iceland – 2 defeats
    Leichtenstein – 2 wins

    In terms of picking up points against the top teams, we’ve done more than enough than would be necessary to qualify, for most teams. However, you can’t lose four games and qualify, and you can’t lose two games against a lower seeded team like Iceland.

    In fact, looking at how the group went in total, basically all the ‘shock’ results involving a team from the top four in the group involved Northern Ireland (the only exception I can think of being Spain drawing in Iceland). Spain and Sweden qualified not through bettering us in head to heads but in picking up the ‘easy’ points.

  • The Truth

    Spain : 1
    Artificial northeastern Irish statelet : 0

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Am I sensing a little glee from both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland fans that England went down, hard.’

    Yes you are Pounder, something we have in common with just about everyone outside England.

    What really gets my goat every time is the arrogance of the English press / media concerning the national team. Listening to the likes of 5 Live (who trailed the England game all week with the tagline; ‘the road to the European Championships’), you’d think England had some divine right to qualification.

    In the event they were totally outclassed by a nation whose population is roughly that of Ireland.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Spain : 1
    Artificial northeastern Irish statelet (whose population have consistently voted to remain within the UK for the past 85 years): 0

  • Outsider

    I agree with everyone who find the English too arrogant, I am ecstatic they are out. Its one thing regardless of religion or political affiliations that unites virtually everyone in NI.

  • Porteydown

    Scunner, England. Good enough for them, at least we can watch Euro 2008 without listening to the reasons why they are good enough to win, when the obviously aren’t. 🙂

  • flaminglip

    “Artificial northeastern Irish statelet (whose population have consistently voted to remain within the UK for the past 85 years): 0”

    I wonder how that happened! Plus, I can’t remember many votes on the constitutional question, although we do know what the result would be.

  • USA

    Yes, I was right again. TOLD YOU SO. See post #4 here.
    Now for some well earned boasting. I’m also right about Irish soccer needing “root and branch” reform. I’m also right about a single “agreed” team. I’m also right that Ian Paisley is an incompetent fool who is being played like a fiddle by Sinn Fein.
    I was not smart enough to have bet on the soccer though, could have made some nice dosh.
    Drat.
    Finally, as I stated on soccer threads before, the US soccer associations are in better shape than your lot and we have only had a league for about 10 years. Our national team could also beat either of your teams, nah nah na nah na. If your not doing anything this summer…ooops sorry, I forget your NOT doing anthing this summer. Why not come on over and we can teach you all a thing or two about football, in the sunshine. And for the idiot who keeps telling me that winning isn’t everything..well, I know that, try reading one of my posts you LOSER.

  • againstthehead

    sour grapes from the usual quarters? Interesting to see how nationalists are so obsessed with NI and in contrast, how unionists couldn;t give 2 hoots about their southern neighbours.

    Personally, I’m always disapointed when no side from the british isles makes the finals of a major competition (RIO included). Media and public interest will be significantly lower and consequently its always a tad less interesting. Love them or hate them, it’s always good to have a team that you have more than a passing interest in, still in the competition.

    Whats make it even more absurd is the amount of Irish and Scots who will pay good money for sky sports or travel over to watch english club sides week in, week out. Yet, can’t bare to see some of their own players do well on the international stage.

    In fairness to our english counterparts, their fans and indeed commentators always get behind NI and the ROI. For that reason, I’ve no problem with them doing well. However, their performance Vs croatia was worse than rubbish – absolute shambles from 1 to 11. Martin O’Neil for England manages – or would that be too bitter a pill for Celtic fans over here…

  • Suilven

    USA,

    >the US soccer associations are in better shape than your lot

    ‘According to Business Week, the league has lost $350 million dollars since its inception’

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/118116/can_beckham_save_major_league_soccer.html

    >Our national team could also beat either of your teams, nah nah na nah na

    Well, they’re worse than Spain (who we beat), but better than Iceland (who we lost to). So, the question is, do you feel lucky, punk?

  • great wee country

    “A succesful campaign by the Scots and NI. Fair play. ROI needed to do dreadfully, just to get a fresh start with a new manager. ”

    England come third in their group ands its a disaster!!!

    ROI come third in their group and its a disaster!!!

    NI come third in their group and its a successful campaign.. break out the champagne jackie, we almost made it!!

    Whats that jackie? Yes, the fans are in fine voice.
    “hello, hello, we are the billy…..” !!

  • beancounter

    Can’t believe how many of you are glad to see England fail to qualify. Be honest, would you really prefer to watch Russia v Italy next summer rather than England v Italy. Smacks totally of short-termism, that plague of modern society, when you would give up the delight of months of hype followed by the implosion that always happens to England when they get to a major tournament. Give all that up for one night’s gloating? No way, that’s why I fought a natural urge to cheer Croatia’s winner. Bad luck chaps1

  • Dec

    Interesting to see how nationalists are so obsessed with NI and in contrast, how unionists couldn;t give 2 hoots about their southern neighbours.

    The recent eligibility ‘controversy’ would dictate otherwise.

  • RepublicanStones

    its very simple to understand why so many in the celtic/gaelic nations like to see england fail, nobody cheers for the schoolyard bully in a fight !

    ‘Artificial northeastern Irish statelet (whose population have consistently voted to remain within the UK for the past 85 years): 0’ -gerry lvs castro

    remind me again when the referendums regarding the constitutional position took place during the last 85 years? and in any event if they had no doubt the big House would have gerrymandered the result !

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Flaminglip:
    ‘I can’t remember many votes on the constitutional question, although we do know what the result would be.’

    At least you’re realistic FL, whereas our friend ‘Republicanstones’ appears to inhabit la la land.

    RS the reason we don’t have a constitutional referendum every few years is that everyone knows what the result would be. Even tremblin’ Trimble called for a border poll a few years back and nobody rose to the bait.

    If there was even the slightest chance of a ‘yes’, SF would be tramping the roads, banging the bin lids and demanding that the ‘process be moved forward.’ The silence is deafening.

    But I bow to your superior knowledge of Northern Irish history RS — do point out the exact date in the last 85 years when such a referendum would have produced a united Ireland.

  • honest

    “Be honest, would you really prefer to watch Russia v Italy next summer rather than England v Italy”
    Posted by beancounter on Nov 22, 2007 @ 06:19 PM

    YES!

  • RepublicanStones

    i’ll go one better gerry lvs castro, i’ll remind you of the fact that this artificial statelet was designed in such a way so as to preserve an in-built majority who would not favour a united ireland, and even then they still gerrymandered the bollox out of the place. although that in-built majority isn’t looking so secure these days !

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Of course it was created artificially RS. I don’t dispute that. A very large number of Irish inhabitants wished to retain the link with Britain and partition was seen as the best option at the time. Hardly a perfect solution but remarkable in that 85 years later, there is still so little likelihood of a ‘yes’ vote for a UI that even SF aren’t suggesting a border poll any time soon.
    Perhaps that should tell you something RS?

  • El Django

    USA

    “Yes, I was right again. TOLD YOU SO. See post #4 here.
    Now for some well earned boasting. I’m also right about Irish soccer needing “root and branch” reform. I’m also right about a single “agreed” team. I’m also right that Ian Paisley is an incompetent fool who is being played like a fiddle by Sinn Fein.
    I was not smart enough to have bet on the soccer though, could have made some nice dosh.
    Drat.
    Finally, as I stated on soccer threads before, the US soccer associations are in better shape than your lot and we have only had a league for about 10 years. Our national team could also beat either of your teams, nah nah na nah na. If your not doing anything this summer…ooops sorry, I forget your NOT doing anthing this summer. Why not come on over and we can teach you all a thing or two about football, in the sunshine. And for the idiot who keeps telling me that winning isn’t everything..well, I know that, try reading one of my posts you LOSER.”

    You’ve got some brass neck for a supporter of a team that’s won fuck all squared and has a World Cup record on a par with Costa Rica.

    What has Ian Paisley got to do with football exactly?

  • kensei

    “Can’t believe how many of you are glad to see England fail to qualify. Be honest, would you really prefer to watch Russia v Italy next summer rather than England v Italy. Smacks totally of short-termism, that plague of modern society, when you would give up the delight of months of hype followed by the implosion that always happens to England when they get to a major tournament. Give all that up for one night’s gloating? No way, that’s why I fought a natural urge to cheer Croatia’s winner. Bad luck chaps1”

    Ah, but we haven’t made that trade. We’ve traded for months and months of recriminations and gnashing of English teeth. And last night was also very, very funny indeed.

    The bigger danger is that England actually hire a manager that could get the best out of the players, rather than limp on with McClaren.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I’m also right that Ian Paisley is an incompetent fool who is being played like a fiddle by Sinn Fein.”

    Any chance of justifying this comment USA? From this side of the pond SF have looked to be in a state of shock and disarray since their thumping by the southern electorate and haven’t been playing anyone.

  • Boff

    El Django

    Could you please not use the words “World Cup” and “Costa Rica” in the same sentence. Some of us are still quite sensitive about Italia ’90.

  • USA

    It’s a football thread so I will stay away from the politics…suffice to say that while I stand by my comments I also agree with GLC that SF took a hit in the southern elections.
    I wish you all luck with your two new All Ireland soccer teams. But how about having one “Agreed” team and actually qualifying for an international tournament?

  • agh

    ‘I wish you all luck with your two new All Ireland soccer teams. But how about having one “Agreed” team and actually qualifying for an international tournament? ‘

    Would a couple of N.I. players turning out for the ROI make any real difference? Who would get on the ROI side? I doubt if healey would even be a regular starter.

    As it is, I can pop down to windsor to watch the likes of england, spain and sweden year in, year out. Why would I spend twice as much cash to head down to dublin? And thats before we go into the politics of it all…

    Currently we have the best of both worlds, no matter what your tradition is, you can support whatever team you like or, if you’re particuarly tolerant, you can follow both!! In the last 2 years we’ve had spain, sweden, denmark, germany, wales and the czechs visiting the emerald isle – things have never been better!!

    If there was to be an all ireland team, there would have to be serious changes with regards to anthems, flags etc etc etc. That just takes away from the national pride of both traditions on the island – a scenario where no-one would be happy. A pointless argument – bit like a united ireland really.

  • pith

    USA,

    Does Diana Ross still play for you?

  • scrabopower

    Another football thread ruined.

    Can’t we have a bit of harmless banter about the national teams without these losers bringing up the same boring political baggage.

  • Have to laugh at the idea of the USA completely outclassing either Irish side. Catch yourselves on. Maybe if you merged with Canada and Mexico you’d be in with a shot. Think about it.

  • The new FIFA rankings have been released and the Pools for Sunday’s World Cup draw can now be extrapolated. I’ve blogged my working out of the 6 pots. Northern Ireland and the breakaway team will be in Pot 3, which rules out a meeting between the two. England and Scotland will be in Pot 2 and Wales in Pot 4.

  • pith

    So Northern Ireland can hope to be drawn against England and Wales for starters although there is always the danger of a Welsh revival.

  • Mike

    First Seeds: Italy, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Croatia, Greece

    Second Seeds: England, Romania, Scotland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Israel

    Third Seeds: Norway, Ukraine, Serbia, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Switzerland, Belgium

    Fourth Seeds: Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Moldova, Wales, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Lithuania, Cyprus

    Fifth Seeds: Georgia, Albania, Slovenia, Latvia, Iceland, Armenia, Austria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan

    Sixth Seeds: Liechtenstein, Estonia, Malta, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Andorra, Faroe Islands, San Marino

  • rubin

    ‘Northern Ireland and the breakaway team will be in Pot 3’

    Won’t have to listen to the English anthem or the loyalist chanting, so good news.

  • Ideally you’d take:

    Greece
    Israel
    OWC
    Lithuania
    Azerbaijan
    San Marino

  • Most of us Republic fans are hoping for Holland. We brought 14,000 fans over to Germany last year, but a weekend in Amsterdam is my idea of heaven…!

    Would love England as well. Croker would be rocking for that one…!

  • I’ve gone for what might be perceived as the easiest group as opposed to places I’d necessarily be dying to visit. Holland would be a great trip for the GAWA obviously.

  • John East Belfast

    Chekov et al

    are you sure about these seedings ?

    I read something similar on a BBC website but from what I can see they were based purely on FIFA World rankings in numerical order from 1 backwards ?

    However the seedings for the world cup are more complicated than that and are based on performances with coefficients applied from the Euro 2008 Qualifier combined with the last World Cup Qualifiers

    ie I never expected NI to be above 4th seed

    Has it actually been declared a 3rd seed or is this just based on rankings ?

  • Dec

    Chekov

    14000 is an army. 3000 is a detachment.

    What jumps out for me is that Israel is now a 2nd seed (and deservedly so based on their last 2 campaigns).

  • It makes little difference when you’re sat watching the TV I would imagine.

    John – The PDF is here: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/europe/competitionformat.html

    I think the FIFA rankings will be used on this occasion. That’s certainly the assumption of the English press who are saying England will be in Pool 2.

  • Dec

    It makes little difference when you’re sat watching the TV I would imagine.

    Hence your confusion.

  • JEB, there was an announcement some time back that qualifying for the next tournament would be based on the rankings.

  • “After initially proposing to use a similar system to recent World Cup and European Championship qualification (based on results across the previous two European qualification cycles), the UEFA Executive Committee decided on 27 September 2007 at its meeting in Istanbul that seeding for the qualifiers would be based on FIFA World Rankings, in accordance with the FIFA World Cup regulations (which note that where teams are ranked on “performance” criteria, the FIFA World Rankings must be used).”

  • Doctor Who

    Looking at the coefficients applied from the Euro qualifiers it looks like OWC will be in pot 4, not bad considering we where in pot 6 for the Euro campaign.

    Wales may still be placed in pot 5 if FIFA decide not to include the poor run of results from Austria as their last competitive match was against NI two years ago this is because there is a smaller points ratio for non competitive matches. In fact Austria might well find themselves in pot 3 at the expense of either Finland or ROI who are borderline. This would then put Hungary down to pot five.

    For what it´s worth my ideal group would be.

    Spain
    Scotland
    Belgium
    Northern Ireland
    Hungary
    Andorra

    Again the potential to surprise and of course some good trips away.

  • Doctor Who

    Looks like I was wrong, the Euro coefficients will not apply, except in the cases of Austria and Switzerland who have not played a competitive game for 2 years.

    As I don´t fully understand German, I can´t totally translate the offical Austrian FA website, but it looks as if their pot placing will be determined by their ranking prior to the start of the Euro 2008 campaign. This would have implications for teams in pot 3. NI are ranked 32 in the world with ROI ranked 35, this could see ROI moved to pot 4. I hope not I hasten to add.

  • favelada

    Yes..lets have a British Championship next summer..

    the Republic can play with themselves!!

  • RepublicanStones

    well if you want a british championship, that would mean excluding the ‘GAWA’, as the north isn’t british.

  • derek

    ‘Yes..lets have a British Championship next summer..’

    At least it will mean the Wales and Scotland fans can boo the same anthem twice !

  • I thought that that the IFA had signed up to a lucrative tournament in the far east. I have no doubt that at this moment in time the English FA would be very interested in resurecting the old British Championship considering their lack of success against other teams from the same area of the FIFA rankings.

    RS last time I checked Northern Ireland was spending british currency and was there certainly is a part of my Birish passport that said “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Has there been a snap referendum while I was eatting my dinner and watching X Factor?

  • RepublicanStones

    so pounder you define your nationality through monetary terms, strange, very strange. british passport eh, would that be the same one nepalese ghurkas are eligible for? as isaid beofre and you seem unable to digest, the north of Ireland is officially not british.

  • Mike

    RS –

    You should really do a bit of research.

    Northern Ireland won the last British Championship, in 1984. (and as such are reigning British champions…)

    Ireland, and then Northern Ireland, played in every British Championship series from 1884 to 1984.

  • RepublicanStones

    and what mike? sure Israel sings in the Eurovision song contest.

  • againstthehead

    republican is clearly stoned lol. ignore the trolls , they will go away you know lol.

  • RepublicanStones

    that was a well put and very convincing counter-argument there againstthehead. nice one.

  • Mike

    RS –

    “and what mike? sure Israel sings in the Eurovision song contest.”

    ‘And what’, you say? You really don’t get it?

    The fact that we played in every British Championship series, spanning 100 years, highlughts the complete and utter pointlessness and redundanct of your statement:

    “well if you want a british championship, that would mean excluding the ‘GAWA’, as the north isn’t british.”

    And that’s without even getting into the fact the politically, your claim is wrong anyway.

    What exactly was your point is making such a fatuous statement? Are you at all interested in the football discussion.

    The fact that you so blithely dismiss the fact that Northern Ireland did indeed play in the British Championships suggests strongly that you had no interest in the footballing discussion beyond trolling to make a tenuous and inaccurate political ‘point’.