18 YEARS IN the making, the day has finally arrived.
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England 1-1 Ireland
18.32 – ‘More than a friendly’ is what it has been billed as by the match broadcasters Setanta. It may be a non-competitive game at the end of a long season for most of the British-based players but when you haven’t played your old rivals for nearly two decades, there is bound to be excitement surrounding and an extra edge to a rare occasion like this one.
We’re still 90 minutes away from kick-off in London but get your thoughts in to us about how you think the game will unfold.
18.36 – We’ve been hearing all week about how the last meeting between these two teams ended just 27 minutes after kick-off at the old Lansdowne Road back in February 1995.
If you haven’t already read it, we suggest you check out our oral history of that infamous night in which we get the personal accounts of Denis Irwin, goalscorer David Kelly and RTE commentator George Hamilton among others.
Let’s hope it’s football and nothing else that we’re talking at the end of the night this time around.
18.42 – The teams will line out as follows:
England: Hart, Johnson, Jagielka, Cahill, Cole, Carrick, Lampard, Walcott, Rooney, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge.
Ireland: Forde, Coleman, O’Shea, St Ledger, Kelly, Walters, McCarthy, Whelan, McGeady, Keane, Long.
18.51 – Lump on.
19.07 – Footage of Ireland’s 2-0 win over England way back in 1949 when they became the first foreign team to beat England at home . Very doubtful that many of you remember this one but a similar scoreline tonight would be nice.
YouTube credit: southerndiskumfort
Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad obviously aren’t at England’s level at the moment but, with all of the circus surrounding Roy Hodgson’s side, they aren’t a chasm away either. ‘A result’ isn’t out of the question. The last time that Ireland were definitively better than England was that infamous game in 1995.”
Read Miguel Delaney’s preview to the game. Paul Fennessy, meanwhile, has come up with 5 reasons why Ireland can beat tonight’s opposition.
19.21 – A pretty packed bench for Ireland tonight. Hopefully the likes of Wes Hoolahan, Robbie Brady and Stephen Quinn will get a run-out.
19.27 – Sounds like a top class show.
19.42 – As commenter Brendan McLoughlin has reminded us, it’s National Fish & Chip Day.
Anyone had a go at Harry’s Challenge?
Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
19.46 – Roy Keane has just been discussing Irish dancing with Adrian Chiles on ITV. Where would you get it?
19.51 – Ten minutes before kick-off and here come the teams. Ashley Cole, winning his 100th cap, leads the hosts out while Robbie Keane is first in line for Ireland.
Credit: ITV screengrab
19.54 – Time for the anthems.
19.57 – They’re out of the way without incident (or booing, thankfully) and we’re about to kick off.
20.01 – Shane Long taps to Robbie Keane so here we go. Ireland attack in the opening seconds but it’s cleared away. Theo Walcott then finds possession on the right and when passes to Frank Lampard, the Chelsea midfielder over-hits a pass and it runs through to David Forde.
20.04 – First corner goes the way of England after Walcott is again involved. It’s whipped into a decent area but Long is on-hand to head away.
Robbie Keane, who scored a first half hat-trick for LA Galaxy last weekend, tries his luck from 25 yards but gets it all wrong.
His opposite number Wayne Rooney then connects to a superb long ball from Lampard. The attempted lob is off-target, however.
20.09 – England looking dangerous on the wings with Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole getting forward to help Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
20.12 – GOAL! England 0-1 Ireland (Shane Long)
That is a special goal. Patient build-up play involving Walters and Keane then Seamus Coleman sends in a delightful cross which is met by the equalling brilliant glancing header of Shane Long.
Irish fans in party mode.
20.17 – Who stuck the ball in the English net…?
YouTube credit: CampeonatoBrasileir
20.20 – Another English corner is fizzed in and cleared away. When it is sent back in for a second time, Phil Jagielka makes contact but can’t direct it towards goal.
20.22 – GOAL! England 1-1 Ireland (Frank Lampard)
They’re level again. Daniel Sturridge gets a cross through both Walters and Coleman, Sean St Ledger fails with his attempted clearance, and Lampard shoots past Forde.
20.25 – Here’s the equaliser:
YouTube credit: Franck Ribery
20.29 – Free-kick Ireland a good 35 yards out. McGeady rolls to Whelan but his effort is poor and hits the wall. Wasteful.
20.33 – England attack down the right and Johnson is inside the Ireland box where St Ledger gets a slight touch to put behind for a corner.
Daniel Sturridge is down injured and will be replaced by Jermain Defoe while Ireland have just broke at pace. Coleman intercepts a pass and bursts off the half-way line. McGeady and Keane get involved but the cross from the Irish skipper doesn’t meet its intended destination.
20.37 – McGeady goes it alone after winning the ball and takes on two defenders before firing across goal.
20.39 – Wacott skips by St Ledger too easily but his cut-back is belted out of danger. Five minutes to play before the break.
20.44 – Johnson slings a ball into the box as England finds space once again and Forde catches comfortably. Gary Cahill’s tackle on McGeady is timely and has to be as it’s in the box.
Terrible defending from the resulting corner and Keane isn’t happy after going down with is back to goal.
20.45 – Half-time: England 1-1 Ireland
Back in a tick.
Credit: John Walton/PA Wire/Press Association Images
20.59 – A proud League of Ireland fan spotted in the crowd.
21.01 – They’re on their way back out. Phil Jones and Ben Foster are ready to join the action in place of and Glen Johnson and Joe Hart.
21.05 – Chance. Rooney picks up the ball and spots the run of Walcott, whose weighted volley across the goal is a good one. Ashley Cole, without an international goal in 100 games isn’t far away but it’s out for a corner.
21.09 – As Lampard shoots wide, he is passed the captain’s armband as Cole is withdrawn for Leighton Baines. No sign of an Ireland change just yet.
21.10 – Walcott taken down by Stephen Kelly 25 yards out from goal and Baines might get an early chance at goal here…
21.12 – The Everton full-back can only find the chests of the Irish wall. Long gives away another free, which is taken quickly and results in a goal-kick to Ireland.
21.15 – England probing on the edge of the Ireland box but play one pass too many.
Down the other end, Coleman does terrifically to get past Oxlade-Chamberlain and win a corner with his deflected shot.
21.20 – Here comes Ireland’s first change. Simon Cox is stripped and getting instructions from Alan Kelly.
21.22 – England on the counter with Rooney and Defoe. Walcott’s strike is palmed away by Forde.
Robbie Keane makes way for Cox. It’s been a quiet night for him.
21.23 – Walcott registers another shot on target. Forde doesn’t have to move to keep it out this time.
21.24 – Substitution number 2 for Mr Trapattoni – McGeady, frustrating on the night, leaves to be replaced by James McClean.
21.26 – England continuing to pepper shots at Forde’s goal but Oxlade-Chamberlain is off-target with his latest shot.
21.29 – Glenn Whelan is off for Derby County midfielder Jeff Hendrick.
Any chance of seeing Wes, Trap?
21.31 – McClean isn’t far away with a curling free-kick. We’re got 15 minutes to play.
21.35 – Fosters is in trouble under a high cross as the ball spills loose with Irish players loitering. Unfortuntaly, Simon Cox is flagged offside.
21.36 – Official attendance – 80,126.
Here comes Conor Sammon.
21.39 – That’s Walters off for Sammon. Let’s see if he make a nuisance of himself for the final eight minutes.
21.41 – Forde thwarts England, who have their best chance of the second half through Oxlade-Chamberlain. It has been a really good night for the Galwegian.
21.44 – This time it’s Walcott who is cursing former Derry City goalkeeper Forde as he saves from the Arsenal winger with his legs.
James Milner gets a cameo role by taking Oxlade-Chamberlain’s place.
England looking more likely to score as the seconds run down.
21.48 – Full-time: England 1-1 Ireland
21.54 – They held on at the end and had David Forde to thank several times in the second half but Ireland will be happy to come away from Wembley unbeaten. Next up is another friendly with Georgia on Sunday before next week’s World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands.
Positives to take? The performances of McCarthy, Coleman, Forde and Long’s finish for the goal.
21.58 – That’s me done. Cheers for the company.