Spain stops Ireland in a heartbreaker

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:27 IST

Spain qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup finals by defeating Ireland 3-2 on penalties after they finished level 1-1 after extra-time.


Spain reached the World Cup quarter-finals 3-2 on penalties today after the match was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time. Gaizka Mendieta converted the deciding penalty. Spain played the extra 30 minutes with only 10 men, when substitute David Albelda was injured and unable to play after Spain had made its three substitutions. Ireland's Robbie Keane scored a game-saving goal on a 90th-minute penalty to make it 1-1 and force extra time after Spain's Fernando Morientes made it 1-0 in the 8th on a header. Just minutes from winning the match 1-0, Spain got into trouble when defender Fernando Hierro was called on the penalty for pulling hard on the shirt of Irish striker Niall Quinn as he tried to get position in the area. Robbie Keane, who had been Ireland's top scoring threat in the match, fired in the penalty to the right of a flat-footed Spanish 'keeper Iker Casillas. Ireland missed a chance to tie the match in the 63rd after Spanish defender Juanfran Garcia tripped Damien Duff in the area with Ireland given a penalty. But Ian Harte's left-footed attempt was stopped as Casillas guessed correctly and dived to his right to deflect the shot. Kevin Kilbane then kicked the rebound wide of an open net. Casillas was the game hero as he also made two saves in the penalty shootout, stopping Kilbane and Kevin Connolly. Spain has won all four of its games in the World Cup finals and, though a perennial underachiever in this tournament, is still among the favorites with Brazil, Italy, Germany and England. Morientes' goal in the 8th put Ireland under pressure immediately. Carles Puyol threw the ball in, got it back on a quick pass, and then sent a perfect cross from the right wing that Morientes - from 8 metres - headed in off a sharp angle behind Shay Given. It was Spain's 10th goal of the World Cup finals and the third for the Real Madrid striker; his 17th in 23 appearances for Spain. Spain looked like it had taken a 2-0 lead in the 25th minute when Barcelona's Luis Enrique Martinez chipped in a short ball behind Ireland 'keeper Shay Given, but the play was correctly called off side. Keane had Ireland's best two chances in the opening half. In the 3rd he got off a curling shot wide for 15 metres as both teams opened on the offensive. In the 43rd, he took a long, looping pass, let it bounce once and then spun as he collided with Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas and fired high from 6 metres. In the second half, Morientes had a chance to put the match away in the 47th when he blasted a shot from 16 metres into Given's chest as the Irish 'keeper came out to play the shot. Seconds after Morientes came close, Keane had a close-in shot that Fernando Hierro cleared off the line. As the second half wore on, Spanish coach Jose Antonio Camacho sent in Gaizka Mendieta, Albert Luque and David Albelda to defend the lead. Playing with a one-man advantage, Ireland dominated the play and had numerous chances to eliminate the Spaniards, who had a few counterattacks but basically defended.
Penalty shootout
Ireland 1Robbie Keane scores into the shooter's upper left corner
Spain 1Fernando Hierro scores into the shooter's left side of the net
Ireland 2Matt Holland hits the crossbar
Spain 2Baraja scores high to the shooter's right
Ireland 3David Connolly's shot is saved by goalkeeper Iker Casillas with his hands
Spain 3Juanfran Garcia shoots wide right
Ireland 4Casillas makes hand save on Kevin Kilbane's shot
Spain 4Juan Carlos Valeron shoots wide left off the outside of the goalpost
Ireland 5Steve Finnan scores into the shooter's top right corner
Spain 5Gaizka Mendieta scores on a shot down the middle as goalkeeper Shay Given dives to his right
Spain last appeared in the quarter-finals in 1994, losing to Italy 2-1. Spain now faces either Italy or South Korea in the quarter-finals. Italy faces South Korea on Tuesday. Senegal reached the quarter-finals earlier today with a 2-1 golden-goal win over Sweden. Germany and England had reached the quarter-finals on Saturday. Lineups: Spain: 1-Iker Casillas, 3-Juanfran Garcia, 4-Ivan Helguera, 6-Fernando Hierro, 5-Carles Puyol; 11-Javi de Pedro (16-Gaizka Mendieta 66), 8-Ruben Baraja, 17-Juan Carlos Valeron, 21-Luis Enrique Martinez; 7-Raul Gonzalez (Albert Luque 80), 9-Fernando Morientes (14-David Albelda 72) Ireland: 1-Shay Given; 2-Steve Finnan, 3-Ian Harte (13-David Connolly 82), 5-Steve Staunton (4-Kenny Cunningham 50) , 14-Gary Breen, 18-Gary Kelly (17-Nial Quinn 55), 8-Matt Holland, 12-Mark Kinsella; 9-Damien Duff, 10-Robbie Keane, 11-Kevin Kilbane Referee: Anders Frisk, Sweden

Topics : Football
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