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Goalkeeper Trumps Irish Luck

Round of 16: Spain wins shootout, 3-2, as Casillas stops two Ireland shots after teams tie, 1-1, in regulation and overtime.

June 17, 2002|GRAHAME L. JONES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SUWON, South Korea — Ireland's World Cup fate was written in blood on the floor of a hotel bathroom in Jerez, Spain, four weeks before the tournament began.

All it took was a clumsy goalkeeper and a broken bottle of aftershave lotion.

It was exactly one month ago that Santiago Canizares accidentally dropped a bottle of cologne in his hotel room, then recoiled in horror as a shard of glass severed a tendon in his right foot.

The freak accident not only knocked Spain's starting goalkeeper out of Korea/Japan '02, but resulted in Iker Casillas taking over in the nets and thus spelled doom for the Irish.

On Sunday night, Casillas came up with two huge saves during the penalty kick shootout as Spain ruined Ireland's hopes of reaching the quarterfinals. The teams had played to a 1-1 tie after 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of sudden-death overtime when the game went to penalties.

After midfielder Matt Holland had blasted his attempt onto and over the crossbar, Casillas turned back shots by forwards David Connolly and Kevin Kilbane and Spain prevailed, 3-2, in the shootout in front of 38,926 at Suwon World Cup Stadium. Spain will play Italy or South Korea in the quarterfinals Saturday.

"We had a lot of luck," the 21-year-old Real Madrid goalkeeper said. "We know we didn't rise to the occasion, but we had luck with the penalties and in the end we are fortunate to go forward, which is a result that we deserve."

Indeed, Spain had the better of the play for much of the match, but all it had to show for its effort was an eighth-minute headed goal by Fernando Morientes, his 17th in 23 games for Spain. The Spanish might have scored more, but their strikers were constantly snared in the Irish offside trap.

In the final minute, referee Anders Frisk of Sweden spotted defender Fernando Hierro almost ripping the shirt off striker Niall Quinn to prevent him from getting to a cross. Robbie Keane scored from the resulting penalty kick to send the thousands of green-clad--and often outrageously costumed--Irish fans in the stadium into a frenzy.

At 1-1, their dream was alive.

Neither team could manage another goal in overtime, although Damien Duff came close with a raking shot for Ireland that slipped just wide of the right post, and the game went to the shootout.

Ireland scored on its first and fifth attempts, by Keane and Steve Finnan, respectively, but Holland's miss and Casillas' saves against Connolly and Kilbane ended Irish World Cup hopes.

Spain did not do a lot better from the 12-yard spot. Hierro and Baraja scored, but Juanfran missed wide right and Juan Carlos Valeron missed wide left before Gaizka Mendieta lashed his penalty kick past Shay Given to knock Ireland out.

"We did not deserve it in the end," said Ireland Coach Mick McCarthy. "We deserved to win in normal time, though, and it's sickening. We're going out of the tournament unbeaten.

"If we had got through this, who knows? We could have been a potential [World Cup] winner. It shows you what we're all about."

Spain Coach Jose Antonio Camacho was in a bitter mood after the game, blaming referee Frisk for his team's troubles.

"We had three or four [scoring] opportunities," he said, "and the referee blew for offside. I'm not sure they were offside and I don't think the final penalty was a penalty."

Ireland should have tied it up long before Keane did. Duff was taken down in the box by Juanfran in the 64th minute, but Ian Harte's resulting penalty kick was blocked by Casillas and Kilbane sliced the rebound wide with an open net begging to be filled.

"This game was all about luck," Casillas said. "We had some bad luck during the game but some good luck at the end. After all, penalties are a lottery, and luck was on our side. Things didn't go well, but luck was on our side."

Just as it was on his side when the luckless Canizares dropped his cologne four weeks ago.

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

DECIDED BY PENALTY KICKS

A look at World Cup games that have been decided by penalty kicks since 1982, the year the format replaced replaying games that weren't decided in overtime:

*--* 1982 Semifinals West Germany def. France, 5-4

*--*

West Germany rallied from a 3-1 deficit in overtime to send the game to the first shootout in history. Toni Schumacher, West Germany's goalkeeper, had a save after his team had gone down a shot, then saved another in the sudden-death round before Horst Hrubesch scored the winner.

*--* 1986 Quarterfinals France def. Brazil, 4-3

*--*

After the teams played to a 1-1 tie, France's Joel Bats gave his team the advantage on the first penalty kick, when he saved a shot by Socrates. Michel Platini missed on France's fourth kick, and Brazil's Julio Cesar hit the post, leaving it to Luis Fernandez to score the winning goal.

*--* 1986 Quarterfinals West Germany def. Mexico, 4-1

*--*

Schumacher again was the star for West Germany, saving shots by Fernando Quirarte and Raul Servin, after the teams played to an uninspired 0-0 tie.

*--* 1986 Quarterfinals Belgium def. Spain, 5-4

*--*

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