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Remember the day Duffer truly announced himself on the world stage?
The retiring legend delivered one of the great individual Irish performances at the 2002 World Cup.

Green Scouser / YouTube

ROY KEANE AGAINST HOLLAND in 2001, Paul McGrath versus Italy in 1994 and Richard Dunne against Russia in 2011 are often talked of among the great individual Irish footballing performances.

And Damien Duff’s display against Spain at the 2002 World Cup also deserves to be part of this prestigious list.

While Duff had impressed for Blackburn before then and had also been excellent for Ireland on a regular basis, the second-round game felt like a definitive coming of age where he truly confirmed his world-class talent by regularly wreaking havoc in the Spanish defence.

Just 23 at the time, the elusive winger would ultimately be named Ireland’s player of the tournament, after they were knocked out on penalty kicks in the last-16 encounter.

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A year later, Duff would go on to join Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea revolution, subsequently winning two Premier League titles and a League Cup with the London club.

Yesterday, the Dubliner announced his retirement from football, and despite the match ending in disappointment, the Spain game will surely be remembered as Duff’s finest moment in an Irish shirt.

h/t @OCowzer

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