02.09.2006 at 20:45 Daimler Stadium, Stuttgart
1 - 0
Republic of Ireland
Referee: Luis Medina Cantalejo (Spain).
European Cup Qualifier-match
Schneider (Borowski 83),
Germany 1 Rep of Ireland 0
Saturday 2 Sept 2006
The Republic of Ireland succeeded in restricting Germany to a single goal win in an eventful opening tie of the European Championship in the Gottlieb Daimler Stadium in Stuttgart tonight.
A single deflected goal separated the teams at the final whistle after a spirited and passionate performance by Ireland had made Germany work extremely hard for their win.
It is true that Ireland were lucky on occasions and that Germany twice hit the Irish woodwork, but the reality was that a German team that had finished third in the World Cup needed a huge deflection of Lukas Podolski’s free in the 57th minute for their only goal.
Ireland were forced into deep defence on occasions and they seldom controlled either the pace or the trend of the game, but their defiant performance meant they were so close to snatching a point from the match was so frustrating that it led to the dismissal of manager Stephen Staunton from the touchline in the 75th minute.
Staunton had shown increasing signs of agitation in the second half as several questionable decisions went against Ireland. The Spanish referee had occasion to spead to him and finally dismissed Staunton after Ireland had been denied a penalty claim.
Kevin Doyle, whose athleticism and clever play had been one of the best features of Ireland’s performance, drove into the German penalty area and went tumbling as a German defender tangled with him in that 75th minute.
Doyle was clearly very angry when a free was given to the Germans and when Staunton let his feelings be known on the touchline and kicked a water bottle along the touchline the referee came over to dismiss him.
Afterwards Staunton paid this tribute to his team: “Every one of the performances was magnificent. I’m not going to single out any one player …. The back four was magnificent, the midfield worked their socks off and the front two player very well.”
As regards the incident that led to his dismissal he said: “I kick every ball, I head every ball, I do everything and I kicked a bottle out of frustration and it was obviously too much.”
The goal that decided the game came in the 57th minute when Podolski was held by Andy O’Brien close to the Irish penalty area. Podolski played the free short to Klose and then struck the return pass left-footed from 18 yards so it hit Robbie Keane’s heel and left goalkeeper Shay Given wrong-footed.
The weight of scoring chances were heavily in Germany’s favour. Stephen Carr was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he handled in the penalty area in the 13th minute, Miroslav Klose headed against the crossbar and Schweinsteiger drove a free against the angle of crossbar and upright.
Ireland rang the changes in the closing minutes and brought in Aiden McGeady, Stephen Elliott and Alan O’Brien in a vain attempt to save a point
Kevin Doyle was today handed his first start in a competitive international when Republic of Ireland manager, Stephen Staunton, nominated him as partner to Robbie Keane in the team to play Germany tonight in the UEFA Championship in Stuttgart.
The 22 years old Doyle has obviously impressed Staunton in his three international appearances to date and also in training for he has been preferred to Clinton Morrison and Stephen Elliott, both of whom were ahead of him in the pecking order before Staunton was appointed in January 2006.
Since then Staunton has used Doyle in each of the three internationals Ireland have played under the new manager – against Sweden, Chile and two weeks ago against the Netherlands when he came in as a substitute for the second half.
Doyle, who played with St. Patrick’s Athletic and Cork City before transferring a little over twelve months ago to Reading, has had a meteoric rise to prominence.
He was born in Wexford and last year was an eventful one for him. He was entitled to an eircom League Championship winners’ medal for his part in helping Cork City in the early weeks of the season then helped Reading win the Championship and promotion to the Premiership to earn himself a second championship medal.
His selection for Ireland’s opening match in the European Championship of 2008 was particularly good news for the Doyle family in Wexford for all of the usual reasons and more besides.
The popular striker revealed that his family – who own a public house in Wexford – placed a bet of €100 at odds of 100/1 two years ago that he would play a competitive international for Ireland.
He said that his father was not the only one who influenced the decision to place the bet – “It wasn’t just my dad, it was my brother-in-law and a few others as well. I supposed I scored for Ireland’s U21 team at the time but it was only when I moved to Reading that I heard about the bet.”
The selection of Doyle was the only minor surprise in the team announced by Staunton today. He has otherwise gone for the tried and tested for a match which represents his first competitive tie as manager and will obviously present the Irish with a major challenge.
Then 18 minutes later and in his first competitive game in charge, manager Steve Staunton was dismissed to the stands by referee Luis Medina Cantalejo for kicking away a water bottle after admonishing the Spaniard for another lamentable decision.
Staunton now faces a touchline suspension for potentially the next two matches in Cyprus and at home to the Czech Republic on October 7 and 11.
Ireland will need to match the level of performance they put in against Germany, while at the same time attempting to find the cutting edge that was lacking.
Tottenham striker Keane feels confident the squad can make what would be only their second finals appearance in seven attempts.
"We're obviously disappointed we lost the game, particularly in the manner in which we did," said Keane.
"I don't think it was a free-kick for them in the first place to be honest, but then the ref seemed to give a few things their way, but not for ourselves.
"I don't think I was offside for the goal I scored. Every decision seemed to go against us, but we can't make excuses. We can't blame the referee.
"We have to get over it, move forward and look forward to the next game by taking a lot of positives from this one.
"We played well. We showed passion, commitment, desire and we put in a lot of hard work. If we can do that in the future then we've a great chance.
"There's certainly a sense of optimism amongst the lads."
Germany : Lehmann, Lahm, A Friedrich, M Friedrich, Jansen, Schneider (Borowski 83), Frings, Ballack, Schweinsteiger, Klose, Podolski (Neuville 76).
Ireland : Given, Carr, Finnan, Andy O'Brien, Dunne, Kilbane (Alan O'Brien 82), S Reid, Duff (McGeady 76), O'Shea, Keane, Doyle (Elliott 78).