Football: World Cup: Tame surrender of Irish initiative

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The Independent Online
Spain. .3

Northern Ireland. .1

NORTHERN IRELAND took an early lead against Spain in Seville last night, only to be overhauled by two goals from Julio Salinas and one from Fernando Hierro. Their hopes of World Cup qualification are now slim.

Billy Bingham's side had held Spain to a goalless draw in Belfast, and Kevin Wilson, the Notts County midfielder, put his side in front after 11 minutes, his well-placed shot going to the left of Andoni Zubizarreta.

Ten minutes later, though, Salinas picked up a loose ball from a corner and slipped it past Tommy Wright from 10 yards.

The Barcelona forward struck again only five minutes later to give Spain the lead, heading in a cross from his Barcelona team-mate, Albert Ferrer. Spain took charge and extended their lead after 41 minutes when Real Madrid's Hierro scored from a corner.

'I think you can say that we are waving bye-bye to the World Cup,' Bingham said. 'It's harder to take because two of their goals were from corner kicks when we didn't defend.'

SPAIN: Zubizaretta; Ferrer (both Barcelona), Alcorta (Athletic Bilbao), Giner (Valencia), Toni (Atletico Madrid), Hierro (Real Madrid), Aldana (La Coruna), Guerrero (Bilbao), Beguiristain, Salinas (both Barcelona), Barragan (La Coruna). Substitutes: Bakero (Barcelona) for Beguiristain, 75, Quico (Cadiz) for Claudio, 58.

NORTHERN IRELAND: Wright (Newcastle); Fleming (Barnsley), McDonald (Queen's Park Rangers), Taggart (Barnsley), Worthington (Sheffield Wednesday), Black (Nottingham Forest), K Wilson (Notts County), Donaghy (Chelsea), M O'Neill (Dundee United), Gray (Luton), Hughes (Strasbourg). Substitutes: Dowie (Southampton) for O'Neill, 73; Dennison (Wolverhampton) for Black, 73.

Referee: L Sundell (Sweden).

Eric Cantona scored twice to give France a 2-1 victory over Sweden in Group Six last night. The Manchester United striker equalised from a penalty just before half-time and volleyed the winner with eight minutes left.