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HUGHTON'S IRISH REFLECTIONS

Posted on 14 October 2005  - 12:00

Chris Hughton pinpoints the matches against Israel as the Republic of Ireland's downfall in World Cup qualifying.

Chris Hughton pinpoints the matches against Israel as the Republic of Ireland's downfall in World Cup qualifying.

Assistant manager Chris, Robbie Keane and Andy Reid saw their World Cup dreams broken when Ireland failed to beat Switzerland on Wednesday night.

The goalless draw in Dublin left the Republic fourth in Group Four - three points behind group winners France and just one behind Switzerland and Israel - despite losing just one of 10 games.

How different it might have been if they'd managed to hold onto a 1-0 lead in Israel - where Israel equalised in injury time - and a 2-0 lead against the same opposition at Lansdowne Road. That game finished in a 2-2 draw.

Chris stepped straight back in his coaching boots at Spurs Lodge on returning from Ireland on Thursday, business as usual despite the heartbreak of the previous evening.

"It was very disappointing especially with the way we started the group," reflected Chris after training.

There was a lot of optimism at the beginning and we were quite happy with how the fixtures panned out

"We always felt we would have to go into the final game against Switzerland needing something but it didn't work out for us.

"It was a tight group, the matches between the top four teams had 11 of 12 draws with the only win when France beat us 1-0 in Dublin. That was a crucial game.

"You can look back at that match and we deserved something out of it - we certainly didn't deserve to lose it - but a wonder goal from Henry won it for them.

"But it's the games against Israel that cost us. You look at the home game, 2-0 up and at international level you can't afford to lose that lead. Away from home we were 1-0 up and conceded the equaliser in the 92nd minute.

"We just needed to finish the qualifying period as we started it but it wasn't to be."