Gaming

We Subbed Ireland Into The European Championships, Here's How We Did

We Subbed Ireland Into The European Championships, Here's How We Did

This summer of sport has been absolutely splendid thus far.

With the European Championships coming to the business end of proceedings, we can reflect on what's been an excellent tournament that's brought us the immaculate, the emotional and the astounding.

However, it was always missing one key component - Ireland.

So, we’ve teamed up with Subway to put that right by subbing Ireland into the tournament on #TimeForASub.

We took to eFootball PES 2021 to make our substitution and Ireland we're placed into Group D alongside England, Scotland and Croatia (at this moment, we'd like to apologise to the Czech Republic for robbing their spot).

Advertisement

Sure, with manager John Sharpson and captain Fynch at the helm, what could possibly go wrong?

Game 1 - Ireland v Scotland

Our first match of the tournament pitted us against Scotland, who had been waiting 23 years for a major tournament return.

The lads plumped for a 4-3-3 formation, with Troy Parrott leading the line for Ireland. It proved to be a shrewd move.

Advertisement

It took just 12 minutes for Troy the Boy to make his mark on the tournament, producing a brilliant finish on the turn to give Ireland the lead.

It didn't take the lad from Mary's Mansions long to add to his total, with the Spurs man pouncing on a mistake from Scotland's Declan Gallagher on the 15 minute mark to send the ball past David Marshall in the Scotland goal. The nation was firmly in dreamland.

The goalscoring tear halted for a while thereafter, and unfortunately for Ireland, it was Scotland who were next up on the scoresheet. Sheffield United's Oliver Burke snuck in behind the Ireland defence to give Scotland hope of a result in the 58th minute. The tension on the island was palpable.

The tension was ratcheting up until the 72nd minutes, when Aaron Connolly was found with a pinpoint through ball. On the edge of the box, the Galway man rifled it past Marshall to restore Ireland's two-goal lead.

3-1 was how the score stayed and Ireland were firmly off the mark at the European Championships.

Game 2 - Ireland v Croatia

Advertisement

"What could possibly go wrong?"

That was a question we asked earlier, thinking that we couldn't fail in our mission to win the European Championships with Ireland. Maybe the victory over Scotland made the camp lackadaisical, because there seemed to be a distinct amount of hubris around the Ireland camp before we faced Croatia.

That was until the match was just six minutes young, and our Ireland side found themselves 2-0 down against the 2018 World Cup finalists.

Firstly, Matt Doherty got caught under a high ball which allowed Ivan Perisic all the time in the world to control the ball and launch it past Gavin Bazunu. Then, mere minutes later, Mislav Orsic ran directly at a retreating Ireland backline, firing a shot across goal. Though it looked to be going wide, Dara O'Shea diverted to ball into his own net.

Advertisement

Ireland needed to lift it and fast.

They found salvation firstly through Troy Parrott. Buoyed by his two goals against Scotland, Parrott hustled through the challenge of Domagoj Vida and fired a shot into the top corner just before half-time. The comeback was on.

Changes were made in the second half in order to galvanise the team. Newcastle United's Jeff Hendrick came on a had an immediate impact. Brilliant link-up play between Hendrick and Parrott opened up space for the midfielder, with Parrott backheeling the ball into Hendrick's path and Hendrick sublimely side-footing the ball home for the equaliser.

Although we wanted a victory, one point was better than nothing, and it was onto England.

Game 3 - Ireland v England 

The Old Enemy. This isn't our first rodeo against England at a major tournament, it's just the first there's been in quite some time.

Advertisement

The players knew a draw would secure a berth in the knockout stages, but this was the opportunity to set a marker. This was an opportunity to invoke Ray Houghton. This was an opportunity to make history.

There was a tactical shift, with the management team deciding to matchup with England's five-man defence. Captain Seamus Coleman was drafted in, as was Norwich City youngster Adam Idah to play up top alongside Troy Parrott, who was Player of the Tournament so far.

Amsterdam was the location. England were already through having beaten Croatia and Scotland, but they weren't going to take the prospect of playing Ireland lightly.

It took Ray Houghton six minutes to score in Stuttgart, and although Ireland fans had to wait double that for Adam Idah's opener in Amsterdam, it still sent them into raptures.

Advertisement

The young Cork striker's first start at a major tournament and he has given Ireland the lead against their biggest rivals. However, the best was yet to come...

On 39 minutes, Troy Parrott got himself on the scoresheet, stroking the ball past Jordan Pickford on the edge of the box. At this stage, England were sinking without a trace.

In the second half, it was more of the same from Ireland, and Troy Parrott again was showcasing his world-class credentials. Just five minutes into the second half, he latched onto a Jason Knight through ball, proceeding to juke inside two England defenders and cannon the ball in the net.

Alas, Parrott wasn't done yet. He managed to complete his hat-trick with a strike that any legendary goal-poacher would be proud of. Josh Cullen tried the spectacular with an overhead kick which had Jordan Pickford scrambling to save. The Everton man could only push the ball out as far as Parrott, who tucked the ball home to round off a night that no one will ever forget.

Unfortunately for the Irish defence, they couldn't keep a clean sheet as Raheem Sterling scored a consolation goal for England, but that didn't take too much of the shine off what was a night that'll live long in the Irish psyche.

Game 4 - Round of 16 - Ireland v Germany

Advertisement

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That old adage was ringing in our management team's ears as Ireland's Round of 16 tie against Germany came into view.

Any fears that the Germans could turn us over were allayed in just the fifth minute as Troy Parrott, just like he did against Scotland, pounced on a defensive mistake to give Ireland an early lead.

However, those fears returned just as swiftly as Germany applied serious pressure to Ireland's backline. That culminated in an equaliser for the Germans in the 35th minute, as Borussia Dortmund's Julian Brandt side-footed an opening past Gavin Bazunu.

With both management teams finalising their team talks before the referee was to blow for halftime, Ireland struck a hammer-blow to German hopes. Troy Parrott, causing the blanket defence all sorts of problems, curled an effort that had Manuel Neuer at full-stretch. The German goalkeeper could only parry the ball, and thankfully for Ireland, Adam Idah was on hand to tap it home. Cue a confetti-laden celebration which kids all over the country were attempting in underage matches.

Advertisement

Germany again tried to squeeze Ireland and force another equaliser, however, Gavin Bazunu was on hand to thwart all of the pressure. Ireland brought on the pace of Aaron Connolly and Callum Robinson to stretch the German defence on the counter attack, and on the 78th minute, it worked a charm.

A German corner was cleared to Connolly in his own half. With no German defender at home, Connolly drove towards the goal, applying a deft chip over the head of Manuel Neuer and securing Ireland's passage into the last eight.

Game 5 - Quarter-Finals - Ireland v Spain

The last time Ireland faced Spain at a European Championships, the Spanish were in the middle of their historic dominance, sweeping teams aside with a tiki-taka style that was the envy of the world.

That was 2012, and the score wound up being 4-0 in favour of our Iberian rivals.

Revenge was on the cards for the Irish.

Advertisement

Attritional is one way could describe this match. Cagey could be a synonym. We'd probably plump for 'woejus' in the vein of former Ireland manager Brian Kerr. Chances at both ends were at a premium and a spot of magic would be needed to break the deadlock.

In the 58th minute, Ireland fans could be forgiven for thinking a goal was a foregone conclusion as Troy Parrott bared down on goal. However, with Aaron Connolly's delicate finish against Germany in his mind, the Spurs striker tried to duplicate it. This time, however, the keeper made an easy save.

Reinforcements were brought in. Parrott and Idah came off and Connolly and Shane Long were on in their stead, with the Ireland management team hoping to utilise their pace.

Once again, Ireland's substitutions bore fruit.

Advertisement

Connolly broke down the left-hand side in the 82nd minute and wiggled his way into the box with two Ireland players square. Shane Long seemed to be the best-positioned to score but Connolly plumped for Conor Hourihane, who had a quiet tournament up to that point.

The Corkman fired the ball home to exercise the demons of European Championships past.

Ireland 1-0 Spain.

 

***

So, Ireland remained unbeaten through the Group Stages of the European Championships, but there would be greater challenges ahead, as the Italians stood in our way in the Semi-Finals.

Can we win the lot? Make sure to join us next time on #TimeForASub!

 

 

Sean Meehan

You may also like