Tag Archives: Euro 2012

Armenia v Republic of Ireland

The Boys in Green are on their way. The road to qualification for Euro 2012 has begun in the best possible way – with a 1-o victory away to Armenia.

Conditions weren’t ideal. The heat was intense in the Yerevan Republican Stadium but Birmingham City midfielder Keith Fahey came off the bench to smash the call past Roman Berezovsky to snatch victory.

Birmingham City and Republic of Ireland's Keith Fahey

No-one will have been more delighted than captain Keane, who passed up a glorious early chance, had a goal ruled out for offside and then hit the post on a night when things did not go for him in the final third.

However, there was as much relief as pleasure as he and his team-mates left the pitch having been put to the test by their hosts.

Keane wasn’t at his best, it must be said. He missed chances he would have buried on any other day. Once again he’s unsettled at his current club, Tottenham Hotspur. The all-time leading scorer for the Irish team finds that he has to fight for his place in the starting XI. The transfer deadline has come and gone and now Keane has to knuckle down and hope Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager, finds it in his heart to include Keane in his team.

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

Another Irish player who’s at odds with his club, Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given, had little work to do during the game. Armenia gave as good as they got and although Given had few saves to make which genuinely taxed him, the home side were quick, direct and technically gifted and were certainly no push-over.

No doubt “Il Trap” – Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni – will be very happy with the result, though. His side head into Tuesday’s home game in Dublin against the minnows of Group B, Andorra, knowing a perfect start would set the up very nicely for what lies ahead.

Euro 2012 – Come On, Ye Boys in Green!

The Official Logo for Euro 2012

The last time the Republic of Ireland’s soccer team kicked a ball in anger during a competitive fixture (as opposed to a ‘friendly’, that is), it was that tragic night in Paris last November, when Thierry Henry’s illegal handball gifted France a 1-1 draw, thus denying Ireland a place in this year’s FIFA World Cup.

France’s resulting failure in that tournament went a long way to salving Irish wounds.

But now it’s time to do it all over again. Euro 2012 is hosted by Ukraine and Poland. 51 teams have been drawn into nine groups: six groups of six countries, three groups of five. The team that finishes top of their group qualifies for the finals automatically. The highest placed runner-up also qualifies. The rest of the second-placed teams (eight altogether) go into a home and away play-off draw, with the resulting winners qualifying for the tournament. Poland and Ukraine qualify as host countries.

In total, 16 countries will play in the finals themselves.

The Republic of Ireland team have been drawn in Group B; alongside Russia, Slovakia, Andorra, Armenia and FYR Macedonia.

These are the fixtures: (A = away game, H = home game at Lansdowne Road)

Armenia (A) Friday, 3 September, 2010

Andorra (H) Tuesday, 7 September, 2010

Russia (H) Friday, 8 October, 2010

Slovakia (A) Tuesday, 12 October, 2010

Macedonia (H) Saturday, 26 March, 2011

Macedonia (A) Saturday, 4 June, 2011

Slovakia (H) Friday, 2 September, 2011

Russia (A), Tuesday, 6 September, 2011

Andorra (A) Friday, 7 October, 2011

Armenia (H) Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

The blond in the middle is the captain, Robbie Keane.