Football: Stubborn Iceland thwart Republic

Republic of Ireland 0 Iceland 0

The Republic of Ireland dropped their first points of the World Cup qualifying campaign as stubborn Iceland held them to a goalless draw yesterday to plunge a packed Lansdowne Road into silent depression.

Two headers by Tony Cascarino in the first half were just wide of the mark and a virtuoso display by the comeback man, Roy Keane, brought brief cheer to the 33,869 fans, but that apart they had to endure a frustrating afternoon.

Even the one point the Republic gained could not send them back to the top of Group Eight, after Macedonia's 11-1 hammering of Liechtenstein on Saturday. Goal difference keeps the Macedonians ahead, and they provide the next opposition for the Irish, in April.

That is a long time for their manager, Mick McCarthy, to sort out what went wrong in yesterday's game. "I thought of all sorts of things to try and get a breakthrough and a goal, but we never delivered the ball with any real quality into their box," McCarthy said. "We didn't play well, but you have to give Iceland credit for stopping us playing. It is very disappointing."

His team was expected to win comfortably, but their only consolation yesterday was that they maintained their record of not yet conceding a goal in the competition. Keane was superb in a sweeper role for 60 minutes - he took the man of the match award - then moving into midfield as the need for a goal became more vital. It would not come, however, and the most alarming aspect of the result was that few clear-cut chances were created.

McCarthy tried a trio of substitutions in an attempt to turn things around, but surprisingly did not send on the master marksman John Aldridge, who is still left seeking the goal he needs to equal Frank Stapleton's Irish record of 20.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: A Kelly (Sheffield Utd); Kenna (Blackburn), Irwin (Manchester Utd), Babb (Liverpool), Breen (Birmingham), Keane (Manchester Utd), Townsend (Aston Villa), McLoughlin (Portsmouth), D Kelly (Sunderland), McAteer (Liverpool), Cascarino (Marseilles). Substitutes: Cunningham (Wimbledon) for Kenna, 63; Harte (Leeds) for Irwin, 63; Moore (Middlesbrough) for D Kelly, 78.

ICELAND: B Kristinsson (Brann), L Sigurdsson (Stoke), Birgisson (Orebro), Jonsson (Orebro), Adolfsson (IA Akranes), R Kristinsson (Orgryte), Gylfason (Brann), H Gudjonsson (KR Reykjavik), H Sigurdsson (Tennis Borussia Berlin), T Gudjonsson (VfL Bochum), Sverrisson (Hertha Berlin). Substitutes: Gretarsson (Breidablik) for R Kristinsson, 70; Thordarson (IA Akranes) for H Gudjonsson, 85.

Referee: S Ormandjiev (Bulgaria).

Bookings: Republic of Ireland: Breen, D Kelly. Iceland: R Kristinsson, Sverrisson, Gretarsson.

Man of the match: Keane.

Attendance: 33,869.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk