Shay Given Tells All About The 2002 FIFA World Cup
One of Ireland’s greatest ever goalkeepers stopped by to chat to us here at BoyleSports about what it was like to be part of the 2002 Ireland World Cup team.
Ireland’s 2002 FIFA World Cup campaign will live long in the memory of all those who support the Boys In Green. The Irish lads got all the way to the knockout rounds of the South Korea/Japan tournament before they were knocked out by Spain on penalties.
There was also plenty of controversy surrounding the team in that World Cup as Roy Keane had a bust up with Mick McCarthy and was sent home. Check out what Given had to say about that 2002 tournament as he relives his FIFA World Cup experiences with us.
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What’s it like going to the World Cup as a player in 2002?
It’s very nerve-racking but also exciting at the same time. Usually you have a training camp but this year it’s very different.
They played last weekend and in a week’s time they’ll be playing so it’s far from normal.
The players are meeting with their countries today and once they get settled in to focus on their first games, I’m sure they’ll get a bit nervous as it’s the biggest football tournament in the world and the excitement levels will be amazing as well.
Most players play one World Cup and this is the chance of a lifetime and you have to grab it with both hands.
What was it like when you played and lost to Spain on penalties in 2002?
The Spain penalty shootout loss was painful as I was unable to make a difference in the shootout.
I couldn’t save that decisive Mendieta penalty but it was even more painful earlier on as Ian Harte missed that penalty.
I felt they were hanging on a bit in extra time and had Harte scored that penalty it could have been very different.
It’s all ifs, buts and maybes but we were so close to making it to the semi-finals and that’s why it’s difficult.
Did you go through the penalty combinations with your coach beforehand?
We did yeah. My issue was sometimes doing that a bit too much and that sounds super contradictory but I remember playing many years for Newcastle and we had Man United away, we’d study Rooney as he was their penalty taker and he went to the right the last three times he scored.
We studied his run-up and all sorts and subconsciously I thought I had to take the coach’s advice, but of course he rolled the ball to the left. You can think too much and all the top strikers will know that the goalkeepers will study their penalties. You have to go with instinct as a player.
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