Ireland Aim to Avoid Heartbreak Under ‘Trap’

“Heck of a game here on Saturday night: Ireland 2, Italy 2. Italy qualified for the World Cup and the Republic of Ireland was guaranteed a play-off spot. Some of the younger Irish players — guys who toil for Championship clubs in England — played the game of their lives. The odd thing is that even before the thrilling, fast-paced game began, Ireland knew it was certain of a playoff spot. Earlier in the day, Bulgaria had collapsed against Cyprus, losing 1-4, and the hierarchy in Group 8 of European qualifying was solidified.” (NYT)

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