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26 Days to Euro 2012: How did John Aldridge miss this?

Most of us can remember that Paul McGrath hit the post with a header but can you recall Aldo’s fresh air follow-up?

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I was seven-years-old when Ireland came so close to qualifying for the semi-finals of Euro ’88.

I remember watching the first-half of the 1-0 win over England through a window as I kicked a ball against the wall in the back garden (trying to work on ambidextrous skills I would never master).

Tempted indoors at half-time, I became a lifelong fan of Packie Bonner as Ireland held firm to record a famous win.

I can also remember Ronnie Whelan’s volley against the Soviet Union and the agony of Wim Kieft’s goal for Holland that eliminated.

Almost everyone can tell you that Paul McGrath hit the post with a first-half header in that loss to the Dutch. I’m pretty sure it was a Leaving Cert English question.

Something that had completely eluded me – compartmentalised into a disbelieving sub-folder in my mind – was John Aldridge’s fresh-air attempt as the goal lay gaping.

“Aldridge fouled the Dutchman”

The glorious chance came about as Ray Houghton curled in a first-half corner. McGrath rose, unchallenged, but his header from six yards out struck the back post.

Aldo, 29 years young at this stage, was lurking at the back post and shrugged PSV midfielder Gerald Vanenburg aside and drew his foot back to deposit the leading goal.

Somehow, with Dutch goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen watching on in horror, Vanenburg was able to deviate the ball slightly with a flailing kick.

Aldridge swiped but missed and van Breukelen snaffled up the spinning ball.

Inexplicably, Austrian referee Horst Brummeier blew the Liverpool striker up for a foul on Vanenburg and play continued.

It was never a foul but it most certainly should have been a goal.

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