Republic of Ireland secure playoff spot

Republic of Ireland have confirmed a place in the Euro 2012 playoffs after a hard fought 2-1 win over Armenia on Tuesday night.

Giovanni Trapattoni’s side went into the fixture knowing they had to win to keep their dreams of playing in Poland and Ukraine next year intact; a Valeri Aleksanyan own goal and a Richard Dunne strike gave the home side the three points.

Armenia got a goal back just after the hour mark, which made it an uncomfortable finish for the Aviva Stadium team, but in the end the Irish side held out to get the victory.

Trapattoni’s team were helped by the fact that visiting goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky was sent off in the first half, and Kevin Doyle also saw red late in the game for two yellow cards.

Irish striker Simon Cox was delighted with the result, and stated that he is looking forward to the playoffs after the game.

“It’s an unbelievable night for Irish football. We needed to get six points out of six (from the last two qualifiers), and we got them and gave ourselves the best possible chance,” he told Sky Sports.

“We came out with the biggest mentality that we could find and we played like heroes tonight, and we got the right result and the result we needed.”

Ireland had an outside chance of winning Group B, but this depended on Russia slipping up against Andorra.

However a convincing 6-0 victory for Dick Advocaat’s men sent them through to the finals – Tottenham’s Roman Pavlyuchenko and Everton’s Diniyar Bilyaletdinov both found the net in the rout.

By Gareth McKnight