The Republic of Ireland football squad assured their second historic qualification for the UEFA European football Championship 2012 after beating Estonia 1-1 (5-1 on aggregate) 23 years after their 1988 Italy campaign. Ireland. 15th November 2011
Ten years without any qualification for the major tournament and after the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, Ireland made a positive start to their Euro 2012. They were drawn into Group B with Russia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra.
From the beginning of the campaign they were on course to qualify for the Euro's. First 1-0 win in Armenia, following 3-1 win against Andora at home, then lose to Russia at home and drawing with Slovakia away, double win against Macedonia and finished their group in 2nd place after beating Armenia 2-1. In total of 10 games, Ireland only lost one!
After a historic 4:0 play-off first leg win in Tallinn against Estonia, Euro 2012 play-off second leg has become a gloriously stress-free test for the Republic of Ireland squad.
This evening, the “Boys in Green” squad draw 1:1 (5-1 on aggregate) and officially booked their place in Euro 2012 finals that will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July 2012.
The captain, Robbie Keane, the best Irish scorer with 53 goals, offered the most exemplary illustration of the pride and identity in the squad. Just During the weekend, LA Galaxy requested him to return to the US to prepare for Sunday's MLS Cup final, however, Keane refused and said:
"This is one of the proudest moments of my career and it could be one of the greatest moments in Irish football history. To miss it would not feel right. My country means everything to me."
Ireland: Shay Given; John O'Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St. Ledger, Stephen Ward (GOAL - 31'), Damien Duff (Keith Fahey, 79'), Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Stephen Hunt (Aiden McGeady, 59'); Robbie Keane (Simon Cox, 68'), Kevin Doyle.
Manager: Giovanni Trapattoni
Estonia: Pavel Londak; Enar Jaager, Taavi Rahn, Ragnar Klavan, Dmitri Kruglov (Sander Puri, 19'); Taijo Teniste, Konstantin Vassiljev (GOAL - 57'), Martin Vunk, Joel Lindpere (Tarmo Kink, 54'); Kaimar Saag, Vladimir Voskoboinikov (Ats Purje, 73').
Manager: Tarmo Rüütli