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June 12, 2013
• Yankee Stadium, New York City
Referee: J. Marrufo
• Attendance: 39368
Republic of Ireland
That's my cue, it's been a pleasure bringing another game to you. Bye for now.
Span's quality told in the end, with two high class goals from Soldado and Mata that give them a winning feeling to take into the Confederations Cup. Ireland tried, but were ultimately no match for the World and European champions, in a match that in truth, struggled to get off the ground for long spells.
90' + 3'
And that's it, full time!
90' + 3'
Admirable effort by Navas, so late in the game, to try to get on the end of an Arbeloa pass that was always destined to beat him to the byeline. Goalkick, and time just about out.
90' + 1'
Cazorla again looking to prise open the defence, picking out Arbeloa at the top of the box, but the full back gets his finish all wrong, miles over.
The two substitutes combine to put the finishing touches on what has been a generally poor game. Three extra minutes of injury time to come.
Assist Santi Cazorla
Goal Juan Mata
OH THAT WAS SUBLIME! Cazorla evades his marker and plays into Mata, who instantly returns the ball to his Premier League counterpart and peels away towards goal. The Arsenal man spots him, and picks him out with a delicious through pass, and Chelsea's Player of the Season does the rest, guiding the ball over the line!
SPAIN WRAP IT UP!
We're into the end times here in Yankee Stadium, can Ireland summon one last heave ho?
OOOH Ramos heads narrowly over from the resulting corner, he got a clean jump on that!
TASTY effort from Cazorla, its swerving and dipping, but Forde is squal to it, and tips around his left post!
The fans are spitting venom from the stands, clearly not happy with that decision.
Yellow Card Stephen Quinn
IRELAND SCORE BUT IT'S RULED OUT! Oh, such disappointment for St Ledger, who had poked home a loose ball from the resulting corner, only to see it chalked off for an apparent offside on Cox!
EXCELLENT SAVE! Casillas with his fingertips, diverts McClean's strong drive over the bar, after he had gotten past Arbeloa!
Meanwhile, Santi Cazorla is readied on the sideline, and it looks like Pedro will make way.
Forde comes racing off his line to close down Soldado, who was slipped in by Mata, but the goalscorer rolls off target.
Arbeloa getting a bit back at McClean there with a meaty challenge, sending a message to the Ireland substitute.
Arbeloa now has been left in a heap, after McClean catches him in the head with a loose arm on an aerial 50-50. He's up, gingerly, after a brief pause.
I will resist the temptation to make 'Boy who cried wolf' cracks at Busquets' expense after that challenge.
CRUNCH! Simon Cox with a reckless half challenge-half stamp on Sergio Busquets, sending the Barca man to the turf writhing in agony. An immediate yellow for the Irishman, who, upon replays, may be fortunate to still be on the pitch. That was nasty!
Yellow Card Simon Cox
In all the activity, Juan Mata has quietly made his way into the game for Xavi.
And I tell you what, had Pedro been more accurate from six yards out, Spain may have had a quickfire second!
Goal Roberto Soldado
It's Soldado, he of the 24 Liga goals last season, who comes up with the goods. Alba seemed to be on a keepy-uppy to nowhere after juggling the ball on the edge of the area, but just when the defence was ready to bot clear the ball, the Valencia striker connects sweetly with a volley into the bottom corner.
FINALLY! SPAIN TAKE THE LEAD!
As questionable as Pique can be when actually trying to defend, he does boast two of the most technical feet for a centre back in the game today. A quick twist followed by a Marseille roulette brings the crowd off their feet and takes him past two players, before he is eventually brought down.
Huge shouts for a handball from the Spanish camp, after a cross from Alba strikes McShane. Replays show that the ball bounced no lower than his armpit, however, so a good no-call from the referee.
But the Irish defence is stout, and gets the ball away from danger. Spain reset again.
Spain starting to crank up the pressure again, as they have done in spells throughout the match. Another corner to them...
Suddenly, Forde is called into action twice in quick succession. Jesus Navas whips in his second convincing cross of the evening, which the keeper parries. The ball is worked quickly to Pique, who lets fly from 25 yards, only for Forde to push away again!
Also a change of keeper of Spain, as Victor Valdes makes way for Iker Casillas, who's probably seen more of the substitutes' bench last season to last him a lifetime.
And as if to show off their embarrassment of riches, Cesc Fabregas and Roberto Soldado are being readied on the sidelines by Del Bosque.
A quiet 127th cap for Keane, who is unable to rack up what would have been 60th goal for Ireland, as he departs for Cox.
A little more pip in Ireland's step in the last few minutes! Coleman puts on his Zizou mask, twisting and turning with the ball on the edge of the box, but he can't get anything more than a goalkick. Whoops.
Pedro is down on the deck grimacing once again, this time, McCarthy is the guilty party, bringing down the forward with a barge from behind.
There is clean, crisp contact on the ball by Keogh, only, its with his face, trying to block a Ramos clearance. Ouch. The Irishman gets a little rub on the back from the Spanish defender, who got as good a view as anyone as to how painful that was.
Sammon is penalized for a high boot on Pedro, free kick to Spain around the halfway line. Low key resumption to proceedings here.
In what may be a familiar swap for Man City fans next season, Jesus Navas has replaced David Silva for the second half. Ireland have also made a change, Steve Quinn on for Jeff Hendrick.
Jesús Navas González
The players are back out, and here we go again!
We'll be back for the second half in just a bit, so stay tuned!
At least the fans seem to be having a good time. The body language and expressions from some of the Spanish players in particular scream "No quiero estar aquí!" In truth, la Roja have fashioned a few decent openings, but through their own sloppy finishing and a bit of dogged rearguard action, they have been thwarted. Trapattoni is definitely the happier manager in the dressing rooms.
45' + 1'
And we're not long into stoppage time before the referee signals for the break. No goals so far.
Del Bosque does not look a content man on the sidelines. This is hardly the most testing of circumstances, but he would have hoped for his team to be off the mark by now.
HOW CAN HE MISS THAT? Spain twice come dreadfully close to scoring! The first was a stroke of misfortune, after a superb piece of control and agility from Pedro freed himself for a shot from 15 yards, which he smacks off the crossbar. But Silva, from the rebound, with the goal pretty much at his mercy, sends the ball right into orbit! Poor, poor from the Man City man.
Spain getting closer and closer...they really look like they want to sneak in a goal before the half.
Now THAT was a chance! Silva slips in Villa behind the last defender, but Forde closes down the space just in time to smother the striker's finish! Good goalkeeping, but Villa probably should have buried that!
Sergio Ramos strikes again, although this time rather unintentionally. He gets a limb right into Keane, who needs a moment or two to get his bearing.
I know this game comes at a very odd hour for those of you in the Eastern hemisphere...but if you're awake and watching, don't hesitate to get involved in the live match centre chat to the right of the commentary!
THAT would have been extremely unlucky, had Pedro converted from McShane's deflection on a Villa centre - but the Barca forward pokes about a foot wide.
Sometimes, even the Spanish players tire of their metronomic passing when it veers into rudderless possession. Xavi tries to take matters into his own hands with a crack from 25 yards, but Forde positions himself well to catch.
Oops, Thierry Henry mention during a ROI game. My mistake, Ireland fans!
Pique takes his sweet time to bring down a ball, and Sammon is on it in a flash, nipping possession off his toes and streaming towards goal. He tries to pull a finish out of Thierry Henry's catalog, bending the ball low into the far corner, but misses horribly!
There's a bit more purpose creeping back into Spain's play in the last few minutes, as Ireland find themselves penned back in their own half once again.
La Roja win yet another corner, but after a brief scramble involving Pique and Ramos, see Forde smother the ball. What if Spain had a Drogba or a Fellaini in their ranks to attack those balls? Their relative lack of height on set pieces stands out at times.
It's raining Barca efforts at the moment - David Villa this time decides to take aim, but after shimmying inside of McCarthy, sees his shot blocked by a determined defence.
PIQUE! Close, but no cigar! From what seems like the hundredth Spanish corner, the Barca man gets his forehead on the ball, but it's hacked away at the last by McShane!
I jest though, he's been a fantastic servant to the national team, and is well deserving of his stature in the game.
Robbie Keane is winning his 127th cap tonight. He seems to have been around FOREVER - my most enduring Keane memory is his somewhat forgotten big money move to Liverpool from Spurs, which lasted all of six months, before he was sold back at a decent loss.
In a shocking development that definitely could not have been predicted beforehand, Spain are completely monopolizing possession, but lack potency, while Ireland are showing plenty of fight, but lack the ball.
Yellow Card Pedro
Pedro, the little whippersnapper is the first to draw the ire of the referee, and the home fans for that matter. He brings down Seamus Coleman to halt a potentially dangerous break, and sees yellow.
New York of course has a fairly sizable Irish population, and are located within driving distance from Boston, whose Irish roots need no introduction. On a good day you could do that drive in under three hours. Anyway, my point is that the fans inside Yankee Stadium are very much geared towards the Boys in Green.
Jordi Alba is really looking up for this one, trying to plant himself into passing triangles at every opportunity. Spain solid, but sedated, as their dominance of the ball has not yet seen Forde worked in the Irish goal.
Jordi Alba and Iniesta keep the defence guessing on the left hand side, and win a corner. And when defending the set piece, probably the only area that Ireland can realistically better Spain, the Boys in Green get it clear.
Constant and relentless pressure and possession from Spain during the opening exchanges. Ireland have probably not had more than five touches of the ball!
Here we go!
Of Ireland's 25 historical meetings against Spain, they have emerged victorious in only four. Can they defy the odds here in the USA? We're about to kickoff, so stay tuned!
And in the last of those tournament wins, Euro 2012, Span and Ireland did battle,with Giovanni Trapattoni's men losing by a 4-0 scoreline. In that game, la Roja set a record for most passes completed in a Euro game, with 859.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque will see this match as a perfect opportunity to run through a few ideas and combinations ahead of the Confederations Cup later this month. Not that much tinkering is needed for the holders of the last three major international tournaments - who have been ranked number one in the world by Fifa since September 2011.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Forde; Coleman, St Ledger, McCarthy, Sammon; Keane, Kelly, O'Dea, McShane, Hendrick; A Keogh.
SPAIN: Valdes, Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets; Pedro, Xavi, Silva, Iniesta; Villa.
First, our teams for tonight's friendly...
Greetings one and all, it's the pass masters vs the pub crafters in the Big Apple - Spain vs Republic of Ireland at Yankee Stadium in New York. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, and I'll be taking you through this one here at Goal, so welcome.
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