Shay Given played the full game for Ireland against Germany in Dublin yesterday, and kept a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with Group D leaders Germany.
But the draw will do little to improve Irelandâ€™s chances of qualifying for the finals next summer. They are 5 points behind the Czech Republic and 8 points behind Germany and both teams have a game in hand over Ireland.
Germany became the first team to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals with this point.
Shay Given - Newcastle goalkeeper keeps clean sheet for Ireland against Group leaders Germany
Germany had the edge in terms of possession but failed to capitalize against an Irish side that went into the second half fighting for the win, which they desperately needed to keep their qualification hopes alive. To their credit Ireland had several shots on target and looked more threatening than those of their opponents. But they just couldn’t make the breakthrough.
Robbie Keane wasted an excellent chance in the second half to bring Ireland glory. Stephen Kelly sent a through ball to Keane, who beat the offside trap and was clean through – but with just Lehmann to beat Robbie attempted a lob which he badly underhit. The Arsenal goalkeeper gratefully collected the falling ball. That was the game right there, unfortunately for Ireland.
It looks like this will be the second successive major tournament that Ireland will fail to qualify for the finals – after failing narrowly to reach the World Cup finals in Germany last year. Yellow cards for Lee Carsley and Richard Dunne mean they will both miss Wednesday’s qualifier against Cyprus in Dublin. Steve Staunton, the Ireland manager is certainly finding it tough to turn Ireland’s fortunes around, and the Dublin crowd left the Croke Park stadium very disappointed.
Ireland: Given, Finnan, Kelly, Joey O’Brien, Dunne, Carsley, Reid, Keogh, Kevin Doyle, Keane, Kilbane.
Germany: Lehmann, Arne Friedrich, Fritz, Jansen, Mertesacker, Metzelder, Frings, Schweinsteiger, Trochowski, Gomez, Kuranyi.
Referee: Martin Hansson (Sweden)