Wednesday, June 12, 2013

spirited Ireland go down to world champions

Spain defeated Ireland 2-0 in a friendly international at Yankee Stadium New York early this morning.

As expected the reigning World and European champions controlled the majority of possession early in the game but an Ireland team missing six first team regulars, defended well and grew into the game as it progressed.

Pedro went close just before half-time, after showing excellent skill in the box to create space for a shot, but his rasping effort came back off the underside of the bar.

Conor Sammon had Ireland’s best chance in the first half, when after stealing possession from the Spanish defender he shot wide from a tight angle inside the box.

Spain continued to press the Irish defence after the break, but struggled to create many clear-cut goal scoring opportunities, while Ireland’s defence remained solid, determined and focused.

The pressure however eventually told on 69 minutes though when Soldado swivelled and shot into the bottom left hand corner after the ball broke to him in the box.

There was further disappointment for Ireland after 80 minutes when Sean St Ledger had the ball in the Spanish net, only to see it disallowed for offside.James McClean also had a great strike saved by Iker Casillas following a typically strong run.

Spain grabbed a late second on 88 minutes when Juan Mata shot past Ireland sub keeper Darren Randolph.

Overall a gutsy, organised performance from an understrength Ireland against the World Champions, and plenty for Trapattoni to build on for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in September.