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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK

Ireland stroll into last 16

Saudi Arabia 0-3 Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland's World Cup odyssey continued after they overcame a spirited Saudi Arabia to claim a place in the last 16 with victory in Yokohama.

Robbie Keane fired the Irish into an early lead, but it was not until Gary Breen scored the all-important second goal in the 62nd minute that Mick McCarthy's men could breathe easy.


Ireland were not at their fluent best against the Saudis, understandably displaying nerves in such a crucial tie.

Yet they did enough to finish second in Group E behind Germany, with Damien Duff scoring a deserved third, and will now face Spain, Paraguay or South Africa on Sunday.


  • 7 mins: Robbie Keane fires Ireland into the lead
  • 41 mins: Mohammed Al-Jahani forces a save out of Shay Given
  • 62 mins: Gary Breen doubles Ireland's advantage
  • 87 mins: Damien Duff seals victory for the Irish
  • With Ireland knowing that victory by a two-goal margin would make sure of their passage to the last 16, the emphasis was placed firmly on attack.

    Ireland's adventurous approach soon paid dividends when Keane fired them into a seventh-minute lead.

    A sweeping crossfield pass by Steve Staunton fell to Gary Kelly, who quickly dispatched a left-foot cross.

    " I thought we were excellent in the second half "
    Ireland manager Mick McCarthy

    Keane had already started to shape up for the volley and he duly applied the finish.

    The goal should have proved the springboard for more of the same from Ireland, but the Saudis acquitted themselves well to thwart any further threat.

    Abdulaziz Al-Khathran, Nawaf Al-Temyat and Al-Hassan Al-Yami were particularly impressive for the Saudis.

    And just before the interval they fired a timely reminder to the Irish.

    Nawaf Al-Temyat's beautifully-weighted pass found Mohammed Al-Jahani, who rifled in a low shot which Shay Given fisted clear.

    Gary Breen scored the all-important second

    McCarthy brought on target man Niall Quinn for the ineffective Ian Harte at the start of the second half.

    But Ireland's second goal came from a more unusual source, as defender Breen ghosted past two Saudi defenders to slot home superbly from Staunton's excellent free-kick

    With Irish nerves finally settled, they went on to dominate the remainder of the game.

    And the highly impressive Duff was rewarded for his tireless endeavour, blasting his ball through the fingers of Saudi keeper Mohammed Al-Daeyea with three minutes remaining.

    Saudi Arabia: Mohammed Al-Daeyea (capt), Mohammed Al-Jahani (Ahmed Al Dossari 78), Redha Tokar, Abdullah Suleiman Al-Zubromawi (Abdallah Al Dossari 68), Fouzi Al-Shehri, Ibrahim Al-Shahrani, Hussein Al-Sulimani, Abdulaziz Al-Khathran (Al Shlhoub 67), Khamis Al-Owairan Al Dossari, Nawaf Al-Temyat, Al-Hassan Al-Yami.
    Subs Not Used: Obeid Al-Dossary, Omar Al-Ghamdi, Sami Al-Jaber, Abdullah Al-Waked Al-Shahrani, Mansour Al-Thagafi, Babkr, Mohsin Harthi, Mohammed Noor, Mabrouk Zayed.
    Booked: Nawaf Al-Temyat.

    Rep of Ireland: Shay Given, Steve Finnan, Steve Staunton (capt), Gary Breen, Ian Harte (Niall Quinn 46), Gary Kelly (Jason McAteer 80), Mark Kinsella (Lee Carsley 89), Matt Holland, Kevin Kilbane, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff.
    Subs Not Used: David Connolly, Kenny Cunningham, Richard Dunne, Alan Kelly, Dean Kiely, Clinton Morrison, Andy O'Brien, Steven Reid.
    Booked: Steve Staunton.
    Goals: Robbie Keane 7, Gary Breen 62, Damien Duff 87.

    Attendance: 65,320.

    Referee: Falla Ndoye (Senegal).

      |  S Arabia  |  Rep Ireland | 
    Corners (1st half)  |  2  |  5 | 
    Corners (2nd half)  |  0  |  0 | 
    Fouls committed  |  12  |  12 | 
    Caught offside  |  2  |  1 | 
    Shots on target  |  4  |  5 | 
    Shots off target  |  3  |  5 | 
    Hit woodwork (back into play)  |  0  |  0 | 
    Yellow cards  |  1  |  1 | 
    Red cards  |  0  |  0 | 
    STOPPAGE TIME  |   | 
    First half - 2 mins  |  Second half - 3 mins  | 

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