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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Ireland's long lunch break
Dublin pubs looked like football stadium terraces
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After the Republic's longest lunch-break in history, the sound of the cheers lifted the roofs of pubs and homes throughout Ireland.

A 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia kept the World Cup dream alive for thousands of Irish fans.

As workers flocked to the bar to celebrate, 11 June looks like another unofficial Irish holiday.

Employers everywhere had bowed to the inevitable and allowed workers to watch.

Fans take in the drama of the match against Saudi Arabia
Thousands thronged into pubs, jostling since early morning for the best position.

Outside, rain teemed down on the deserted streets. Flags and bunting flapped in the breeze as Irish fans dared to dream on.

In Dublin, it was just impossible to be Irish and indifferent.

No-one knew quite what to make of the Saudi team. Already on their way out, would they lose initiative and bow to Ireland's confidence? Or would they fight to salvage their pride?

Seven minutes into the first half, Robbie Keane swung his right leg around his body to fire the ball over the Saudi line. Less able Irish fans attempted to copy his youthful cartwheels of joy.

News that Germany was ahead of Cameroon crept around the pubs.

Mathematics

The republic only needed to stay ahead to qualify for the next round. A second goal from Gary Breen ruled out the cruel scenario of drawing lots.

The maths of qualification had been debated ad nauseum. Now it was time to work out the maths of finding the airfare to South Korea.

A third goal from Damien Duff confirmed it was time to raid the savings account. Credit Unions around Ireland braced themselves.

Mick McCarthy and Shay Given
Mick McCarthy is bringing Ireland to Korea
Just two weeks ago, clouds of despair and disarray hung over the Irish team. The withdrawal of Roy Keane had soured the tournament.

The odds of them getting through to the second round dropped drastically. But then a draw against Cameroon and Germany turned the tables.

All of a sudden, the confidence returned. A determined squad insisted they were dependent only on themselves.

Last night, Republic of Ireland full-back Ian Harte told a press conference: "We're fine without Keane."

On Tuesday, the team proved him right. "We have gone out on the big stage and once we have crossed the white line we have proved to people that we are a quality international side."


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BBC's Shane Harrison
"Dublin came to a standstill"
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GROUP E
  P GD PTS
GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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