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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Ernst Happel (ATT 13,000) 12th October 2005 - Kick off 19:30 Ref: A Briakos

Austria Austria vs Northern Ireland N Ireland

Austria 2


Sanchez's boys end with defeat

By Ben Blackmore.   Last Updated: 12/10/05 9:37pm

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Northern Ireland's marvellous World Cup campaign ended in admirable defeat in Austria, as the hosts claimed a rather undeserved 2-0 victory to claim third place in the group.

Lawrie Sanchez's men played some superb, if sometimes over-zealous football and created the lion's share of the chances, only for two Rene Aufhauser strikes to break Northern Irish hearts.

The first half got off to a surprisingly competitive opening, and when the first chance came, opportunities continued to offer themselves in an end-to-end contest.

It was the hosts who threatened first and they felt they had an early penalty shout as Chris Baird leant on the crafty Andreas Ivanschitz inside the box, but the referee waved away the protests.

David Healy then came close to scoring a magical opener for the Northern Irish, flicking the ball over his head and two defenders to advance on goal, before releasing a weak effort that Jurgen Macho pushed away to his left.

Austria were thankful to Middlesbrough's Emanuel Pogatetz soon after, as the defender made a crucial last ditch tackle to deny Healy after a superb diagonal ball from Chris Brunt.

Pogatetz then showed his prowess in the opposite direction, spraying the ball wide to Markus Schopp, who delivered a telling cross that was wasted by the ineffective Roland Linz.

If Linz was guilty of missing a fine chance, Healy should have been locked away for his wayward effort moments later.

The powerful James Quinn used his strength to win the ball and lay it on a silver platter for Healy right in front of goal, but the Leeds man contrived to side-foot the ball wide from 12 yards.

The conqueror of England was proving to be a real handful and once again found room inside the Austria box, forcing Aufhauser to slice just over his own bar.

Chances kept coming for Sanchez's men and Michael Duff was unlucky to find himself just too far underneath a Brunt corner, nodding over a free header from five yards.

However, the sucker blow came for the brave Northern Irishmen right on the break, and when the goal arrived it was a delicious finish.

Schopp found himself with his back to goal inside the area, and his lay-off was perfect for Aufhauser who proceeded to bend the ball sublimely past Taylor from 18 yards.

The goal and the interval did not seem to dampen Northern Irish spirits, however, and they were soon creating more opportunities as Steven Davis and Keith Gillespie drove them forward from midfield.

Damien Johnson was extremely lucky not to see red just seven minutes into the second half, after what can only be described as a disgraceful challenge on Schopp.

Two minutes later, the Austrians thought they had doubled the lead as Martin Stranzl cleverly redirected the ball past Taylor, only to find himself an inch offside.

Northern Ireland seemed to become rattled as the game went on, with Healy and Baird showing their frustration all-too clearly at times in the eyes of the referee.

However, if there is one hallmark of a Sanchez side it is a never-say-die attitude, and the impressive Davis and Brunt both went close to levelling as the visitors began to build some momentum.

With 15 minutes remaining, the affair finally boiled over as it had threatened to do all night, and it was no surprise that Johnson was at the heart of the incident.

The combative Birmingham midfielder produced a dangerous late challenge on Pogatetz, who reacted aggressively, although not illegally, to the provocation.

The referee felt that it was enough to warrant a red card for both players, and Pogatetz was left to leave the field on a stretcher.

Austria were left fuming with the decision, but Linz nearly lightened their mood as the clock ticked down, forcing a top class save from Taylor as the ball flew towards the top corner.

Northern Ireland ran out of steam towards the end, and Aufhauser added a second neat finish late on to give the score a flattering look from an Austrian point of view.

Austria v Northern Ireland player ratings.

AustriaTeam StatisticsNorthern Ireland
11st Half Goals0
7Shots on Target4
9Shots off Target5
5Blocked Shots6
2Yellow Cards4
1Red Cards1
73.7Passing Success61.3
82.8Tackles Success90
53.8Territorial Advantage46.2


  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Wed 12th Oct - Group A
    Wed 12th Oct - Group B
    Wed 12th Oct - Group H
    Wed 12th Oct - Group C
    Wed 12th Oct - Group G
    Wed 12th Oct - Group E
    Wed 12th Oct - Group F
    Wed 12th Oct - Group D


FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

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1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

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Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4