Estonia v Rep of Ireland

Estonia v Rep of Ireland

IT Fri, Nov 11

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  • 18:29

    Estonia v Rep of Ireland: So here we are, 1200 miles from home, but just 180 minutes from immortality. Only Estonia, brave little Estonia, stand between the Republic of Ireland and a place in the Euro 2012 finals. Surely we can’t botch this one, asks Noel O’Reilly? Can we?

    The only downside to being drawn against Tarmo Ruutli’s side was being lumbered with the mantle of favouritism. Sure, it’s only right and proper that Ireland are expected to progress against a side beaten by the Faroe Islands in the qualifiers but the f-word does not sit comfortably on Irish shoulders.

    Heroic failure, travesties of justice, plucky defeats – these we manage with aplomb. But elevate us to the role of the big dog and we start to lose our way in the rarified air. Ruutli, perhaps sensing as much, spoke gushingly, if somewhat disingenuously, of the jolly green giants during the week.

    The Estonian manger could only ‘dream’ of managing such an elite group, dismissing suggestions that he was pleased to have drawn them in the play-offs. Be that as it may, you can bet your bottom dollar he slept a helluva lot easier than if he had been pitted against Portugal, the Czech Republic or Croatia.

  • 18:49

    Team news: After keeping us in the dark for the last 24 hours,  Giovanni Trapattoni does what we all expected him to do and plumps for Jon Walters to partner Robbie Keane up front.

    The teams so . . .

    Estonia (4-4-1-1): Sergei Pareiko (Wisla Krakow);  Enar Jaager (Aalesund), Raio Piiroja (Vitesse), Taavi Rahn (Tianjin Songjiang), Ragnar Klavan (AZ Alkmaar); Tarmo Kink (Middlesbrough), Aleksandr Dimitriyev (FC Eural), Michael Vunk (NEA Salamis), Dmitri Kruglov (FC Rostov); Konstantin Vasilyev (Amkar Perm); Jarmo Ahjupera (Gyori ETO FC).

    Rep of Ireland (4-4-2):  Shay Given (Aston Villa); Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Stephen Ward (Wolves); Damien Duff (Fulham), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Keith Andrews (Ipswich Town), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Robbie Keane (Keane), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City).

  • 18:56
    eoin from zambia go ireland! great comments on the 'heroic failure, travesties of justice...' line - maybe Michael D. will help us come to terms with our flawed national psyche. Till then it's up to the boys in green!:)
  • 18:57
    Presidential approval: It seems he’s doing all he can to help Eoin. Guests at tonight’s state reception for our new president won’t need to nip out to the bar to keep up to date at Dublin Castle. Recognising the enormity of the occasion, Michael D has seen fit to install screens at the event so the great and the good won’t miss a kick. Top man.
  • 19:02
    eoin from zambia excellent...that's great. Just know he's gonna be the most loved man in Eire after a time. A poet, a gent, a scholar - AND a man that knows when the big screen is needed!
  • 19:03
  • 19:04

    A word on our opponents: Although his side were hardly free-scoring during their qualification campaign, managing only 15 goals (the same number, incidentally, as Ireland), Ruutli’s players are not shy about having a pop at goal.

    Estonia mustered a total of 129 efforts in their 10 matches, 56 of which were on target, and when the get it right, they get it right. Witness top-scorer Konstantin Vassiljev’s effort against Northern Ireland last month, the winner at Windsor Park effectively paving their way to a place in the play-offs. Oh, and some gleefully unrestrained commentary from tonight’s host broadcasters to boot.

  • 19:04
  • 19:04
    This long-range effort in the tundra against Serbia mightn’t have been as impressive, but the midfielder is well capable of causing Shay Given some problems from distance. For the record, Ireland managed just 78 shots on goal, exactly half of which (that’s 39 for the mathematically challenged) were on target.
  • 19:05
    Eamonn OCarroll Yes the date is 11. 11 . 11. with 11 players on the field, and the result will be 1-1
  • 19:18
    TV View: “A pretty dour pitch and a dour stadium,” surmises Liam Brady of the A Le Coq. Dunphy reckons an industrious Estonian side could cause us problems, believing us to be flattered by the bookmakers odds, while Johnny Giles is not expecting a classic between two sides with aversions to passing the ball about. All three agree that Estonia are vulnerable at the back, not least from the set-piece.
  • 19:18
    Eamonn OCarroll No matter what the outcome of todays game, I do hope that the FAI don't renew Trapp's, contract. He is a negative man with a negative approach to the Irish players and Irish mentality.
  • 19:21
  • 19:21

    What goes on tour: John Delaney has been getting in the party mood, reportedly footing a bar bill of some €2,000 for the visiting fans on Thursday night. Now far be it from us to tell the FAI chief executive what to spend his hard-earned on, but dropping that sort of cash as rumours of more lay-offs and cutbacks at the association were circulating is a little, well, unseemly.

    Party Boy, of course, has form in this sort of thing. Delaney laid on free beer last year on the infamous ‘disco train’ to Zilina, resulting in our favourite Irish ditty of recent times. “Ohhh John Delaney.. you used to be a wa**er but your alright now!”  

  • 19:31
  • 19:32

    As the clock ticks past 9.30pm local time, it’s getting a bit parky at the A Le Coq stadium. While reports of bare-chested Irishmen enjoying the local brews in Tallinn town square are to commended, some no doubt benefitting from Delaney’s largesse, it’s definitely a night for doubling up on the stockings as the mercury dips towards freezing.

    Anyway, we can only hope they’ve been behaving themselves better than some of our northern brethren last September.

  • 19:32
    eoin from zambia ha, brilliant!...i'm sure there are a few cork heads that would change the ending to said ditty! photo about sums up the situation i think!
  • 19:37
    A quick check around the grounds at the other play-offs taking place tonight. So far there’s only one goal to report, Ivica Olic’s second minute strike giving Croatia a crucial away goal in Turkey. The current scores are as follows: Turkey 0 Croatia 1, Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 Portugal 0, Czech Republic 0 Montenegro 0.
  • 19:37
    eoin from zambia madness...i only hope that the game matches this entertainment...
  • 19:40
    “It would be shocking to be beaten by them,” admits Dunphy, before adding the following rider. “I’ve watched them and they’re not as bad as we think they are . . . let’s hope we go out and give a performance for the people who love football in this country.”
  • 19:43
    Tallinn’s itsy bitsy teeny weeny A Le Coq stadium is fast approaching it’s 10,000 capacity. At least 1,400 Irish fans have secured seats but, with touts doing a brisk business around the streets of the Estonian capital, it’s safe to assume a few hundred more have found their way in to the home sections.
  • 19:45
    The Estonian anthem is a solemn number, sung a capella on the night by a barrel chested bunch from the local choir. That’s the formalities almost over with. It’s time to go.
  • 19:50
    1 min: Richard Dunne, it has emerged, is among five Irish players starting the matchon a yellow card. Not sure if the FAI were aware of that fact, it certainly wasn’t included in their media guide distributed ahead of the match. Anyway, Estonia get things underway in Tallinn and immediately send a long ball forward.
  • 19:52
    3 mins: Andrews tries to slide in Walters, but the danger is snuffed out. The Stoke frontman is already making a nuisance of himself, and has the first shot in anger but his scuffed effort is easily gathered by Sergei Pareiko.
  • 19:55
    5 mins: Keith Andrews sends the long ball forward to, well, no-one in particular and the ball rolls harmlessly into touch. Far too early to start lumping it forward, the midfielder had plenty of options but chose to ignore them.
  • 19:58
    9 mins: It’s end to end stuff in the early stages, unfortunately mostly long ball v long ball. Jarmo Ahjupera, the big Estonian target man, is seeing some of the ball but it’s all a bit frantic and there’s no sense of danger for the Irish back four.
  • 20:01
    11 mins: First chance for Estonia, and it’s that man Vasilyev. The ball is worked to the marksman on the edge of the area but his strike is deflected off Andrews and loops over the bar. Given collects the ensuing corner quite comfortably, and Ireland ease the pressure.
  • 20:04
    13 mins Estonia 0 Rep of Ireland 1: Ireland make the crucial breakthrough. McGeady finds some space on the left of the Estonian box, picks out Andrews run into the box and the midfielder guides a deft header beyond the despairing Pareiko. An ideal start for Ireland, let’s hope they push on from here.
  • 20:07
    17 mins: Given is forced to scramble across his goal as Estonia come looking for the equaliser. At the other end, McGeady races forward but is hauled down by the Estonian defender. Andrews clips the ball forward, St Ledger then heads it across the six yard line but Walters sends his shot over. Decent chance but some shocking defending from Estonia.
  • 20:09
    20 mins: Tarmo Kink takes on Ward on the outside but the Wolves full back recovers and concedes the corner. After initially fluffing their lines, the Irish defence keep their nerve and the ball is cleared.
  • 20:12
    21 mins: Klavan shoots from distance but his effort is off target. “You don’t mind them,” reckons Ronnie Whelan in the RTE commentary box. “Not too many of those are going to go in the top corner.” Talk about tempting fate, Ronnie.
  • 20:13
    22 mins: And sure enough, Vasilyev shaves the woodwork with another long-range effort. Ireland simply cannot allow the Estonians to shoot at will of they’ll pay the price.
  • 20:13
    Eamonn O Carroll Goood start for Andrews and Ireland, this player deserves his moment of glory, it may prove to be vital.
  • 20:15
    25 mins: Andrews breaks up an Estonian attack, giving Ireland the opportunity to regroup after some soaking up some serious pressure.
  • 20:15
    eoin from zambia great stuff...go on ireland!
  • 20:17
    28 mins: reland playing higher up the pitch now, and Estonia forced to resort to long balls over the top once more – to little effect.
  • 20:20
    30 mins: Kink again tries to get in behind Ward but the Wolves man makes an excellent last ditch tackle, again at the expense of a corner. The ball pinballs around the Irish area before eventually finding its way to Kink wide on the right an his speculative effort is easily gathered by Given.
  • 20:23
    33 mins: Instead of galvanising the Irish side, the early goal has seen them retreat into their shells. That said, Walters just goes mighty close after leaving Piiroja trailing but his powerfully struck shot flies over Pareiko’s goal.
  • 20:25
    35 mins - red card: It’s suddenly gone from bad to worse for Estonia – which can only be good for us, right? Dmitrijev plays the ball straight to Keane, and Stepanov, already booked, sends the LA Galaxy striker arse over tit. What could have been a straight red is certainly a second yellow and the home side are now down to 10 men.
  • 20:28
    38 mins: Ireland can wrap this up tonight, no question about that. With some smart play, Estonia are there for the taking but Ireland are failing to take them game to them at the moment. “When you’re a man up, you go and attack them,” implores Whelan.
  • 20:31
    41 mins: Walters gets on the end of a Kelly cross but can’t quite angle his header on target. Ahjupera becomes the latest player to be cautioned after almost taking Stephen Ward’s head off. “He’s only caught him on the shoulder,” says Ronnie, who played when men where men, “that’s not a yellow card for me.”
  • 20:32
    43 mins: Vasilyev tries his luck from all of 40 yards but his strike is always rising and sails over the bar.
  • 20:35
    44 mins: Ward drills it across the six yard line but neither Keane nor Walters can be bothered to make the run, preferring to complain about not being picked out by the full back.
  • 20:37
    45 mins - half-time: And that’s it for the first 45 minutes of this tie. What an opportunity for Ireland to kill this off, for without doing anything special they find themselves a goal and a man to the good.
  • 20:48
    Eamonn Denmark Half time and the luck of the Irish still holds out,the lazieness of some the players is very obvious ! I'm thinking of Keane & Walters in the last 15minutes of first half.
  • 20:50
    46 mins: There’s consensus in the RTE studio that the boys in green can get the job done tonight. With an away goal in their back pocket, it’s certainly Ireland’s to lose but they need to start playing smarter, stretching the 10 men who are bound to tire on a heavy pitch. That’s my tuppence worth, here come the players and Keane gets the second half off and running.
  • 20:51
    47 mins: Elsewhere, Croatia are home and hosed, leading 3-0 in Turkey, while the Czech Republic are a goal to the good against Montenegro. Back in Tallinn, there are no changes to report at this stage.
  • 20:53
    48 mins: Duff runs at the Estonian defence but drags his shot wide of the target. But there’s a bit more composure about the Irish play as Trapattoni’s side seek to exploit the space left in the Estonia midfield.
  • 20:55
    49 mins: Keane goes desperately close to doubling the lead after some nice play from McGeady and Ward, but the captain’s strike is blocked unwittingly by Klavan, who knew very little about it. Duff follows up but his shot is held by Pareiko.
  • 20:56
    51 mins: Andrews needs treatment on a blood injury, allowing Estonia to relieve the pressure as the midfielder changes his shirt on the sidelines.
  • 20:59
    53 mins: Walters goes down under Piiroja’s clumsy challenge. A shooting chance here, but Ireland take the free kick quickly and the attack breaks down. Andrews, bloodied but unbowed, is waved back on.
  • 21:01
    54 mins: Vunk dives over an imaginary challenge on the edge of the Irish box, but Viktor Kassai is clearly a fan of the arts and awards the free kick. Vassiljev fancies this one but his low pile driver is deflected behind by Dunne.
  • 21:04
    57 mins: St Ledger loses the long ball in the air and Vunk disposes the centre half, but Ward intervenes to help out. There’s a nervousness creeping back into Ireland’s play here.
  • 21:07
    60 mins: Dunne seems to be struggling, while Duff is taken out on the right touchline allowing the winger to cross from the resulting free kick. Lindpere, meanwhile, comes on for the home side and the volume goes up a notch.
  • 21:09
    Kevin This Irish team will flop in Euro2012 finals - regardless of who is In our group!
  • 21:09
    63 mins: Glenn Whelan charges headlong into Duff, leaving the winger prone on the turf. That’s one hell of a challenge from Whelan, but after receiving treatment Duff is deemed fit enough to continue.
  • 21:13
    66 mins – Estonia 0 Rep of Ireland 2: Game, set and match. Jon Walters with the killer blow.
  • 21:15
    68 mins: With hands on heart, cant’s really say that Ireland deserved that on the balance of play but, hey, we won’ complain. McGeady did well, his shot stinging the hands of Pareiko before Keane scooped the ball to the far post where Walters applied the finish. A third here is not beyond the realms of possibility.
  • 21:16
    69 mins: Piiroja, harshly, booked for a sturdy challenge on Andrews and that’s him out of the second leg.
  • 21:18
    70 mins - Estonia 0 Rep of Ireland 3: Pareiko makes a complete horlicks of Andrews free, managing only to knock the ball timidly out to Keane who makes no mistake a drives another nail into the Estonian coffin.
  • 21:18
    Flynners Gwan the boys in Green...loving the blog all the way from Perth Western Australia.
  • 21:20
    73 mins: It’s all over bar the shouting, as Estonia throw  three up front leaving gaping holes at the back.
  • 21:20
    Guest yes! 3-0 beautiful!! happy Limerick lad in Kelowna, Canada.
  • 21:20
    Fergus Come on lads, rootin for ya from Toronto Canada!
  • 21:21
    Woody near Toulouse Come on Ireland - glad I got my tickets for the Finals
  • 21:23
    75 mins: Piiroja sees red after a deliberate hand ball, knocking the ball out of Keane’s path. Estonia now down to nine men. Ryanair are presumably already increasing the prices of flights to Eastern Europe next June.
  • 21:26
    80 mins: Duff expected to be fine for next Tuesday after being withdrawn in the aftermath of that Whelan challenge. In the meantime, Estonia keep pressing but have yet to even test Given and we’re up to 80 minutes.
  • 21:26
    Guest 3-0 Awesome! Happy out in Luxembourg :)
  • 21:26
    Adam D Go on Ireland!! sending the love from across the pond in Boston. big shout out the NHY in the stones!!
  • 21:26
    Bengy The good times are back!
  • 21:28
    83 mins: Ireland look content to hold what they have. Walters comes off to a standing ovation from the away fans, Simon Cox coming on in his stead.
  • 21:32
    85 mins: Vassiljev again off target, for the umpteenth time tonight, the ball taking a couple of bounces before crossing the byline. Voskoboinikov then goes down cheaply in the box, but his penalty appeals are waved away.
  • 21:34
    87 mins – Estonia 0 Rep of Ireland 4: Keane applies the gloss, coolly slotting home the penalty after Hunt is brought down inside the box. Four goals from a Trapattoni side. Away from home. In a match of this importance. Who’d have thunk it?
  • 21:34
    Keegi Teine I will curse the Irish team so they will advance to final tournament, but they will have no goals there and also they will have any draw there. Also I would like to send my regards to referee, how much he was paid for?
  • 21:34
    Deego Cum on lads
  • 21:38
    90 mins – full-time: Oh what a night!  An extraordinary result on a famous night for Irish football. God knows what the aggregate score will end up as for Estonia are going to have to come to Dublin throwing numbers forward. Cox even had time to test Pareiko on the full-time whistle.
  • 21:38
    Albert, edinburgh Great result. Have to head to pub for second leg !
  • 21:39
    Eamonn Denmark Agood win from an otherwise sloppy Irish team, man have the Irish team some work to do! Irish player of the night 'Kieth Andrews
  • 21:42
    Unbridled joy among the Irish players celebrating on the pitch over in Tallinn. Not quite som much back in Montrose, more of a warm glow from the panel as they look forward to a busy summer. “A very professional performance,” reflects Brady. “Done and dusted, we’re going to Ukraine and Poland.”
  • 21:42
    Noel cardiff Thanks lads
  • 21:43
    mhm good game by the irish .. but referee was pretty clear on who's side he was on
  • 21:43
    jfk toronto thanks
  • 21:46
    John Delaney lives it up in front of the Irish fans, no doubt inviting them for a few scoops back in the Molly Malone later on. Back in the studio, Dunphy has no great gra for the style of play, but is delighted a “special” group of individuals are going to feature in a major championships once more.
  • 21:59
    mhm reminds me of chelsea-qpr game
  • 21:59
    Iain in Boston No pretty but the result is all that matters. Well done lads, fecking delighted, roll on Tuesday.
  • 22:00
    alex italy good job lads and lets not forget trapattoni would have taken us to thenwcup as well without the henry's robbery.we deserve to go to euro!tnx!
  • 22:00
    alex italy Thanks trap.despite your critics you build an honest strong unit.
  • 22:08
    “I’m a little bit emotional,” admits a teary Trapattoni after the match. Which player stood out? “All of them,” he gushes.
  • 22:08
    Bill well done boys in green.and we never give goals away!
  • 22:09
    Kenny great stuff.we did it with discipline and passion
  • 22:11
    Robbie Keane: "We came here to get a result and full credit to the players they put in a great performance from the start. They had a couple of players sent off but I think we had the job done before that. We got the early goal and managed to kick on from there. To come here and win 4-0 is a great result. The confidence that we have in the squad and the way we played in the whole campaign we deserve to go through and we are looking forward to Tuesday night now.”
  • 22:17
    That’s all from us tonight, Emmet Malone and Keith Duggan will have all the post-match reaction from Tallinn in tomorrow’s Irish Times where Pat Fenlon, Mary Hannigan and Malachy Clerkin will also share their views. Good night and good luck!