Republic of Ireland make Euro 2012

Republic of Ireland have booked their place at Euro 2012 after a 1-1 draw with Estonia at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Emerald Isle’s place at the competition finals was all but guaranteed after a 4-0 win in the first leg in Talinn, and a draw was more than enough to see the home nation make the cut.

Stephen Ward gave the home side the lead after 32 minutes, with a second half Konstantin Vassiljev strike merely a consolation for the Eastern European visitors.

The result means that Giovanni Trapattoni’s men win the playoff tie 5-1 on aggregate, and will now travel to Ukraine and Poland for the tournament next year.

The Italian coach was delighted with his team’s performance and glad to make the European Championships for the first time since 1988.

“This evening was another game, a tough game and we’re happy we didn’t lose. In football it is possible to concede a goal. In first half, two or three time Robbie Keane could have scored. They were not easy chances but he could have score two,” he told RTE Sport.

“We showed the Irish people we built a fantastic team and we deserved to qualify. We have a good team with good players. We improved our qualities. After we lost against Russia we started with a new mentality and attitude. The players believed our system.

“The team improved and they believed what we asked from them. For us that is very satisfying,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Croatia, Czech Republic and Portugal have also made the finals after winning their respective playoff ties on aggregate on Tuesday night.

By Gareth McKnight