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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 6 April, 2020

8 days to Euro 2012: Who stuck the ball in the English net?

Ireland’s last appearance at the Euros encompassed one very special day in Stuttgart.

Houghton celebrates a famous moment in Irish sporting history.
Houghton celebrates a famous moment in Irish sporting history.

FEW PEOPLE GAVE Ireland a chance ahead of what was, at the time, the biggest football game in the country’s history.

Yet the team, and one man in particular, rose to the occasion.

Despite coming up against a talented England side that included players of the calibre of Bryan Robson, Chris Waddle, Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley, Ireland took a surprise lead six minutes into the game courtesy of a looping Ray Houghton header that sailed over Peter Shilton’s head after Kenny Sansom failed to clear the ball properly (see video below).

Houghton subsequently had a chance to double his side’s advantage, but Shilton got down well to save the Scottish-born player’s shot.

The second half was a different matter, as England upped the tempo, and threatened to even the score on several occasions.

Nonetheless, a mixture of great goalkeeping, heroic defending and a tireless work ethic, demonstrated by every Ireland player, ensured Charlton’s side held out for a famous victory.

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Read: International friendlies wrap: Sweden, Holland among winners>

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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