Thursday, September 07, 2006

Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain

Olé Norn Iron!

Not expecting too much after Saturday's miserable 3-0 defeat to Iceland, I settled down to watch Northern Ireland take on Spain, an obviously greater challenge and not a country I expected us to do any better against.

Nevertheless the first 10 minutes passed scoreless and both teams settled into the game before a supposed groin injury forced Carroll, the Northern Irish keeper, off to be replaced by Taylor and then tradgedy struck a few minutes later when Spain put the ball into the back of the net.

However, our gritty determination did not allow this to set us back and following a defensive error resembling something from Saturday's game, Healy scored what was to be the first of three goals he would tuck behind his belt, levelling the game at one a piece.

By half-time Northern Ireland were clearly the better side and one did not want the whistle to blow because you could almost taste a goal coming from the side. Crucially tonights game was given a serious boost by the 12th player - the fans. I haven't heard them chant as loudly and passionately for quite some time and it was a significant factor in bolstering the teams determination.

Despite causing problems after half-time with a near miss from Gillispie, Spain went 2-1 ahead with some clever footwork and and easy finish. As many hearts sank, the crowds choruses soared and on the 64th minute Healy scored again from a thumping kick after a pass from Clingan in what was testament to practice come to reality on the field.

Tension was rife over the next quarter of an hour with Spain touching the woodwork and testing the Northern Irish defence as the game reached fever pitch. Then in the 80th minute came a long ball from Taylor and with the next touch of the ball Healy lobbed the ball ove the Spanish keeper to score his hatrick and the stadium errupted in cheers.

A fantastic game and one of the most enjoyable matches I've seen since a year ago today :)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Lou said...

It was a great game and an amazing win for N. Ireland. I just wish they could be a bit more consistent though. Needless defeats from the likes of Iceland are going to stop us from qualifying.

I wish I'd also had a chance to watch Germany beat San Marino 13-0! Hilarious!

8:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heeeeeeeeeeeee-laaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!

Yeah that was some match alright. Unfortunately I only caught a few highlights, but I'm so on for the next NI game.

LOL at 13-0 though - it sounds funny, but it's not a match that you'd probably enjoy watching. You'd just think "Oh, another goal... I don't have enough fingers left to count this on... What's on Channel 4 atm?"

10:20 pm  

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