It was almost all over. Instead Shane Long’s stoppage-time equaliser capped off a second-half Irish display full of fight and spirit that hasn’t been seen in years, especially at the Aviva Stadium. The Euro dream is still alive, just. Here’s ten talking points from a dramatic week in Euro 2016 qualifying.
Robbie Keane was not a happy man as his LA Galaxy side let slip their lead in Vancouver. Having scored the winner a week ago against the same opposition, Keane was on target again against the Whitecaps, but this time the sides shared the spoils thanks to a late leveller.
The draw for Euro 2016 has paired Ireland and Scotland together for the first time since 1986, and while the Irish are placed in Group D as second seeds, with Germany already installed as favourites for the tournament, and Poland and the Scots involved, new boss Martin O’Neill would have wished for a far easier road to France.
With the Euro 2016 draw taking place in Nice on Sunday, and Ireland among the second seeds, qualification for France should be easier, in theory. But a look at some of the lower ranked teams suggests Martin O’Neill has plenty of work on his hands.
The first YBIG Football Show of 2014 with host Dave O’Grady looks ahead as Martin O’Neill gets set to name his squad for the Serbia friendly next month. There’s also analysis of Wes Hoolahan’s woes at Norwich, talk of Andy Reid, and a preview of the Euro 2016 draw.
Ireland could be reunited with France in Euro 2016 qualifying with UEFA set to include the hosts in the draw, though they will still retain an automatic spot at the finals.
A new-look Irish side played out a scoreless draw against Serbia in Belgrade. While scoring chances were few and far between, Giovanni Trapattoni sprung another surprise by opting to abandon his 4-4-2 system in favour of 4-5-1, again answering some of the the criticism that dogged him following the Euros.