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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 10:58 GMT
Euro 2008 qualifiers clockwatch
Scotland 2-1 Georgia
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Wales

Later kick-offs:
Israel v England (1830 GMT)


Liechtenstein v Northern Ireland (1915 GMT)

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

By Ian Hughes & Chris Bevan

1655: FULL-TIME Republic of Ireland 1-0 Wales It is all over at Croke Park - and the same can surely be said for Wales' qualifying hopes after they lose out to the Republic of Ireland.

Steve Staunton's men stay third in Group D, moving level on points with leaders Germany and the Czech Republic who meet later tonight.

1655: FULL-TIME Scotland 2-1 Georgia Craig Beattie's late winner gets Alex McLeish's reign as Scotland boss off to a perfect start - but the Scots were made to work against a stubborn Georgia team.

1654: Wales are bringing on an extra striker at last - in the 91st minute. It is asking a lot for Jermaine Easter to save the day now after coming on for Carl Robinson - there are just two minutes of injury time left.

1652: Before Beattie's goal, Scotland would have been delighted with four minutes of added time. Now it doesn't seem quite so welcome as they seek to hang on to a winning position.

1652: Robbie Keane comes off to a standing ovation from the Croke Park fans. Aiden McGeady comes on to steady the ship for the Republic of Ireland as the game enters injury time.

1651 Surely this is last-chance saloon for Wales. Ryan Giggs is chopped down by Steve Finnan and Wales have a free-kick 25 yards out.

Ryan Giggs steps up himself and although his free-kick dips over the ball it is easily kept out by Shay Given. That has been the story of the game for Wales - they have not tested the Republic of Ireland keeper.

1649: GOAL SCOTLAND 2-1 Georgia With his first goal for Scotland, substitue Craig Beattie becomes an instant hero - albeit scrambling the ball home with a shot more off his knee than foot.

1647: The Republic of Ireland should really have wrapped this game up by now and they see another chance go begging.

Kevin Kilbane runs the Wales defence ragged and crosses for Robbie Keane but under challenge from Carl Robinson the Tottenham striker fails to make proper contact with his shot and Danny Coyne saves comfortably.

1644: Ten minutes to go and it is almost 2-0 to the Republic of Ireland. Kevin Doyle takes a swing on the edge of the area and his shot loops almost in slow motion on to the cross bar.

1644: However, at the other end, Georgia manage to work some space and Demetradze drives a low shot narrowly wide of the upright.

1643: Georgia are very deep and inviting Scotland on - as a consequence space is at a premium.

1640: Scotland are well on top but cannot find a way through a resolute Georgian defence.

1639: On today's performance it is difficult to see where Wales' next goal is coming from - but you would hope it is against San Marino at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday. San Marino have conceded 27 goals in their four games in Group D so far.

1636: Kris Boyd, who will be haunted by some howling misses today, is replaced Craig Beattie as Scotland make a change.

1635: Scotland win a free-kick in a good position, on the edge of the box and just right of centre. But Paul Hartley smashes it into the defensive wall.

1634: The Republic of Ireland are looking more than a little nervous as we move inside the last 20 minutes at Croke Park. If Wales could start finding Craig Bellamy rather than the home side's defenders with their hopeful punts up front, then we could be in for an exciting finale. Don't bank on it though.

1630: Scotland have Georgia rocking - and their crossbar in particular. Kenny Miller knocks the ball back to Kris Boyd and his downward volley bounces against the woodwork. Seconds later, Boyd misses another good chance. Is it just not Scotland's day?

1628: A fast break from Georgia hands Tskitishvilli a sight of goal and he fizzes a shot just wide of the right-hand post. It is a warning to Scotland, who are pushing forward in numbers and leaving themselves open to the counter attack.

1627: Lee McCulloch's volley from the edge of the area is blocked as Scotland try to force their way into the lead.

1626: It is all happening for Wales now - Shay Given is forced into action for the first time since the interval. He does not have to work too hard, though, as Carl Robinson's header drops comfortably into his grasp.

1625: Hold on to your hats, Wales have a corner. Their first of the game and it has taken them over an hour to earn it - Ryan Giggs curls the ball in but the Republic of Ireland clear their lines comfortably.

1623: Lee McCulloch makes a nuisance of himself at the far post while trying to get his head to a floated free-kick but commits a foul in the process. Scotland are beginning to look frustrated.

1622: Steve Staunton makes his first change for the Republic of Ireland. Goalscorer Stephen Ireland has picked up a knock and Kevin Doyle will replace him.

1618: It has developed into an open game at Hampden, with both sides looking threatening on the attack but less than solid defensively. It is a cliche but, really, the next goal is likely to win it.

1618: Whatever John Toshack is going to do, he has got to do it fast. At the moment Wales have no cutting edge and they are unable to get in the Republic of Ireland's penalty area let alone carve out a scoring opportunity.

1615: Stephen Ireland is fast becoming the Republic of Ireland's lucky mascot. The Manchester City midfielder's first-half goal was his third in his last three matches for Steve Staunton's side and he is involved again as his side look for a second goal here.

Ireland tees up Lee Carsley on the edge of the box and his deflected shot flies straight at Danny Coyne, much to the relief of the Wales keeper.

1613: Kris Boyd is lucky not to have his name taken by the referee as he deliberatley uses him arm, trying to connect with a dangerous cross into the area.

1612: Wales manager John Toshack's approach of frustrating the home side and attempting to catch them out on the break has had only limited success so far.

Wales have been solid enough defensively - apart from Stephen Ireland's goal - but they have barely threatened Shay Given. What has Toshack got up his sleeve to change things in the second half?

1610: Scotland's Paul Hartley smashes a half-volley wildly over the bar - it would have had to be some strike to score from 30 yards, and that was not it.

1607: The Republic of Ireland get the second half underway at Croke Park. Wales have brought on Carl Fletcher for Joe Ledley.

Wales have 45 minutes to salvage this game otherwise their already slender hopes of making the Euro 2008 finals will be all but over. Steve Staunton's men have not been threatened much so far and will be looking to build on Stephen Ireland's goal to make the points safe.

1605: Scotland restart the action and will hope to improve on the way they played towards the end of the opening 45 minutes. The crowd are in good voice - singing along to The Fratellis - and Scotland will want strong support as they seek to gain a victory.

1550: HALF-TIME The Republic of Ireland go in at the break with their noses in front thanks to Stephen Ireland's goal. Steve Staunton's men have not exactly created much in their first game at Croke Park but at least they are off the mark - and they have more to smile about than Wales who have carved out only one chance that Craig Bellamy squandered.

1549: HALF-TIME Scotland leave the pitch to audible boos from the crowd after they relinquish their early lead and end up finishing the half level. Georgia end the opening period as the better team and will almost certainly pose a big problem after the break.

1547: GOAL Republic of Ireland 1-0 Wales
It has taken a while but the Republic of Ireland finally make the breakthrough. Stephen Ireland runs on to Robbie Keane's clever pass, rounds Danny Coyne and slots home for the first football goal scored at Croke Park

1547: Georgia are finishing strongly and Scotland are hanging on - the hosts will reflect on missed chances in the opening spell of the first half.

1544: This time it is the Republic of Ireland who threaten. A superb through-ball by Robbie Keane releases Damien Duff who runs into the area but sees his shot brilliantly saved by Danny Coyne.

1543: GOAL Scotland 1-1 Georgia
Scotland allow Demetradze to deliver a cross from the left and Shota Arveladze nips ahead of his marker to connect with a diving header, which is well placed into the left corner.

1542: The ball breaks to Kenny Miller in the box and he snaps a shot goalwards but fails to trouble the keeper.

1540: Confusion in the Wales defence as James Collins misses his clearance, leaving Danny Coyne out of position. Robbie Keane retrieves the ball and puts in a dangerous cross but Coyne is back in position and Paul McShane's header flies wide in any case.

1539: Scotland have done well to maintain their lead during a purple patch for Georgia - although there have been some uncomfortable moments for the hosts.

1538: Steve Staunton has tinkered with his formation to try to find some gaps in the Wales backline.

Damien Duff has moved out to the right, leaving Robbie Keane on his own up front with Stephen Ireland moving into an advanced role just behind him.

1537: Wales best chance so far and at last Craig Bellamy breaks free. Richard Dunne's mistake lets the Liverpool striker through and he beats Paul McShane but Shay Given comes out bravely to block his shot.

1534: Craig Gordon preserves Scotland's lead with a fine reflex stop from Demetradze's close-range volley- but the Georgian will be ruing a great chance missed.

1532: Wales' Steve Evans may be an international rookie but you cannot fault his performance so far. The Wrexham man has won everything that has come in the air and has made some timely tackles, too, to help keep Damien Duff and Robbie Keane quiet.

1530: Danger for Scotland as Kobiashvili floats in a teasing cross but the ball is cleared for a corner. Georgia have regrouped since conceding the early goal and may get themselves back into this match. However, they fail to threaten from the set piece.

1528: Robbie Keane gets his first sight of goal for the Republic of Ireland after latching on to Stephen Ireland's through-ball. He has time to pick his spot but drags his shot horribly wide of Danny Coyne's goal.

1526: Kenny Miller bursts through the Georgian defence and fires in a low, left-footed volley but keeper Lomaia smothers the ball easily.

1524: Wales' last competitive win came in Belfast in October 2005 - they need to do the same in Dublin to keep their hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2008 finals alive.

The Republic of Ireland are in a similar position after a stuttering start and - with Germany and the Czech Republic already in control of Group D - it is win or bust for Steve Staunton and John Toshack.

1521: Gary Teale is proving a menace but he fails to score when he perhaps should have done after the ball finds him unmarked in the box. He swivels and shoots, but only weakly into the arms of the Georgian keeper.

1520: Wales have settled down a little now but they are yet to threaten the home defence. Craig Bellamy's pace is their biggest weapon going forward but so far he has seen little of the ball.

At the other end Robbie Keane fires in a shot after a short corner is not properly cleared, but it rolls wide of Danny Coyne's near post.

1513: GOAL Scotland 1-0 Georgia
The first goal of the Alex McLeish era is scored in some style by Kris Boyd, who stoops low to meet Gary Teale's cross and steer an excellent header into the bottom corner.

1511: Scotland are coming under a bit of pressure, but a succession of Georgian corners eventually come to nothing.

1509: It is the Republic of Ireland who have made the better start and Wales have hardly touched the ball so far. Damien Duff makes a good run down the left but his looping cross is well held by Wales keeper Danny Coyne.

1507: Scotland carve out the first chance of the game but David Weir heads tamely into the ground despite being under no pressure in the Georgian box.

1505: And at Croke Park, too, the pitch is bathed in sunshine as Wales kick off.

1504: On paper, Scotland should record victory over opponents who are ranked 69 places lower by Fifa. But when did paper rankings ever count for anything? Remember that Greece are the current European champions.

1502: Georgia get the action underway at Hampden.

1500: The Scottish look determined as Flower of Scotland is belted out.

1457: In bright winter sunshine at Hampden Park, the Georgian team stand arm in arm as their national anthem plays. But will they still be standing tall after the match - especially if Scotland can produce the kind of performance which saw off France in the last international at Hampden?

1455: Steve Evans really was a big surprise pick at the back for Wales.

Not only is it a competitive debut for the 28-year-old Wrexham centre-back, it comes after he has just completed a five-game club ban for his third sending off of the season and his club are struggling to stay in the Football League. Not the ideal preparation to face Robbie Keane and co.

1440: There are 74,000 fans at Croke Park for Republic of Ireland v Wales - the first football game at the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

Steve Staunton's men will hope for a better result than the first rugby game here - in February - when France beat Ireland 20-17.

TEAM NEWS

New Scotland boss Alex McLeish's first starting XI includes a two-pronged strike force of Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd.

Stephen McManus earns his second cap alongside David Weir in defence, while Paul Hartley partners skipper Barry Ferguson with Gary Teale on the right and Lee McCulloch on the left of midfield.

Georgia hand starts to two former Rangers players, defender Zurab Khizanishvili and striker Shota Arveldadze.

Scotland: Gordon, Graham Alexander, Weir, McManus, Naysmith, Teale, Ferguson, Hartley, McCulloch, Miller, Boyd. Subs: McGregor, Murty, Dailly, Severin, Beattie, Maloney, Brown.

Georgia: Lomaia, Khizanishvili, Salukvadze, Shashiashvili, Eliava, Kobiashvili, Menteshashvili, Tskitishvili, Burduli, Arveladze, Demetradze. Subs: Revishvili, Kvirkvelia, Iashvili,Gogua, Mujiri, Ashvetia, Siradze.

Stephen Ireland starts for the Republic of Ireland after recovering from an ankle injury and Leeds midfielder Jonathan Douglas is also included. Paul McShane and Stephen Ireland are also back after injury and in the starting line-up.

Wales boss John Toshack opts for Wrexham defender Steve Evans as his third centre-back alongside James Collins and Lewin Nyatanga. Ryan Giggs partners Craig Bellamy up front.

Rep of Ireland: Given, Finnan, McShane, Dunne, O'Shea, Douglas, Carsley, Ireland, Kilbane, Keane, Duff. Subs: Colgan, Hunt, McGeady, Keogh, Kevin Doyle, Stokes, Harte.

Wales: Coyne, Ricketts, Bale, James Collins, Evans, Nyatanga,Ledley, Robinson, Simon Davies, Giggs, Bellamy. Subs: Ward, Danny Collins, Fletcher, Parry, Duffy, Cotterill, Easter.

SEE ALSO
International photos
24 Mar 07 |  Football


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