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Graham Hunter Reveals How Spanish Media View Ireland's Performance In 2002 World Cup

Graham Hunter Reveals How Spanish Media View Ireland's Performance In 2002 World Cup
By Balls Team
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Despite today marking the 20th anniversary of the game, you should still remember exactly where you were when Ireland faced Spain in the last sixteen of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Suwon, Korea having successfully navigated a tricky group with Germany and the highly fancied Cameroon.

It wasn't our day, but the manner in which the Irish team played, typified by Robbie Keane frightening the life out of Iker Casillas right from kick-off, meant that once the bitter disappointment of a penalty shoot-out loss subsided we were bursting with pride.


Damien Duff was unplayable on the day, and during an interview with Graham Hunter a number of years ago he revealed that having watched the highlights back recently even he was surprised with how good he looked:

I didn't realise I played that well I guess. It's a blur. I saw that clip and I can't remember the stuff I did, I was like 'Wow! Bloody hell!'

Hunter then discussed how that Spanish team, still viewed as perennial underachievers at that stage, were taken aback by the fight of that Irish team, and how the Spanish media were impressed with the opposition.

When I've talked to the players about 2002, they know that they got through by the skin of their teeth there.

I think one of the things they liked about your [Duff's] skills was that it was nerveless, it's what they like to have.

Spanish football culture still revolves a little bit around the concept of the man in the cape against the bull, but there is something in their spirit, and it's inherited and it's taught, about how if you can show grace under pressure, it's a show of bravery and style. When people in the football industry in Spain have talked to me about that day, those values were emblematic of that Ireland performance.

Let's hope they have forgotten about Euro 2012 then.

That was a serious Irish outfit, with there still be a sense of 'what if' if they had managed to get beyond Spain on the day. Of course, it probably would have helped to have a full compliment of players available...


SEE ALSO: Delaney Urges Ireland To Stick With Change Made For Scotland And Ukraine

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