The Republic of Ireland v Faroe Islands
2 : 0
Three points and two gaols, but a real sense of frustration
After the glory of Stade de France, expectations were high, the French had beaten the Faroes 2-0 away from home. How we derided them at the time, maybe 2-0 isn't such a bad scoreline after all!.
There were some high points in the game. Robbie Keane scored both goals to give him the all-time top-scorer record, two clear of Niall Quinn and the potential to double Quinn's old record of twenty one goals. Two-nil, but it should have been more. Ireland dominated but the finishing from set pieces was abysmal, 15 corners and not one goals from them! It could and should have been a higher score. Although the Irish top the group, Switzerland and Israel have a game in hand, and there is some concern that goal difference could be a concern later on.
Following on from Paris the atmosphere was electric, a throw back to the Charlton era, there may not have been the sea of green inflatable animals, but there was the noise and the passion, and the Irish fans joined the small knot of Faroe Islanders on the North Terrace in the Mexican wave.
Ireland dominated from the start and Finnan's free kick, after three minutes was saved by Mikkelsen. Ireland did not have long to wait, after a number of fruitless attempts the first goal arrived after 14 minutes. After Duff made a darting run through the Faroes defence skipping over four tackles he was eventually brought down by Jacobsen.
As in the Cyprus game there was no doubt as to who would take the penalty as Robbie Keane put the ball in the back of the net for a new record twenty-two goals.
It was not long before Keane had added a second to his tally and the crowd were expecting a record score. Again Duff was instrumental in creating the chance. He broke down the left before crossing to Keane who had made a run from midfield, the ball deflected between Mikkelsen and Jacobsen, and Robbie blasted into an open goal.
The game was over as a contest and the crowd sensed that it was a question of how many Ireland would try and get and for the Faroes it was how low could they keep the score, or so we thought hopefully!!!!
On the half hour Keane had a chance to get his hatrick, once again the chance came from Duffer who crossed the ball for Keane to head. The resulting header was weak and Mikkelsen had no problem in saving.
Just before half-time, Duff cut inside from the left and had a shot on goal, but his shot was parried by the keeper. Roy Keane collected the ball on the edge of the area, brought it to the by-line and cut it back for Reid who blasted the ball over the bar.
Ireland continued to dominate in the second half.
Duff had two great chances early on, but his finishing ion both cases was poor. After sixty minutes Robbie Keane should have had his hatrick, but Mikkelsen stood up and saved at his feet.
With no obvious free kick specialist, Roy Keane tried his luck from a free kick but hit is straight at the keeper.
Miller, who camE on for the injured O'Shea, had a great chance when he picked the ball up on the edge of the box, but he blasted the ball straight over the bar when a direct strike on gaol seemed the easier option.
Once again Robbie broke through in a one-on-one with Mikkelsen, the keeper managed to get a leg to the shot and the ball rolled agonisingly towards the line. It didn't have the pace and was cleared a few feet away the line.
Shay Given was the most rested man in Lansdown Road and it wasn't until 85 minutes that he had the first real save. Benjaminsen glided through the Irish defence by Given got down comfortably on the ball.
The Irish dominated, but in the second half failed to score,despite having almost total possession, everyone was happy to pass the ball around, there was no final penetration in the bottom third of the pitch. As Roy Keane, who had a very good battling second half and won Man of the Match, said. We complicated it a bit in the second half, trying killer passes when he should have kept it simple. Maybe that was down to a bit of inexperience, but the three points were the important thing, and well see how it goes. Theres a long way to go.
Rep of Ireland: Given, Carr, O'Brien, Cunningham, O'Shea (Miller 56 mins), Finnan, Roy Keane, Kilbane, Duff, Robbie Keane, Andy Reid. Subs Not Used: Breen, Holland, Kavanagh, Kenny, Barrett, Doherty.
Faroe Islands: Mikkelsen, Thorsteinsson, Oli Johannesen, Jon Roi Jacobsen, Olsen, Borg (Danielsen 85 mins), Johnsson, Benjaminsen, Rogvi Jacobsen (Lakjuni 58 mins), Frederiksberg (Flotum 83 mins), John Petersen.
Ref: Romans Lajuks (Latvia).
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