Back to Gelsenkirchen


Ireland play Germany at Schalke 04’s Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen but it was at the nearby Parkstadion 26 years ago that the Boys in Green first made their mark only for Wim Kieft’s header to take a cruel bounce to end our Euro ’88 dream.

Having beaten England and drawn with the USSR in our first ever major finals, Ireland faced the Netherlands seeking a place in the semi-finals. Against the twin dangers of Gullit and Van Basten, the Republic held their own until luck deserted the Irish. Minutes earlier Paul McGrath’s bullet header cannoned off the Dutch post but as the stadium clock struck 82, with more than a hint of off-side, Kieft’s header, while first appearing to head wide, took a bizarre hop off the turf and into Packie Bonner’s net. The result heralded the end of our German adventure but the tournament had sparked a revolution in Irish soccer.

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