Caoimhin Kelleher‘s first senior start for Liverpool didn’t give him much to do, but his second was a whopper.
Kelleher was under siege over 90 minutes in a 5-5 thriller with Arsenal in the League Cup before making the only save of the shootout, denying Dani Ceballos to put the Reds in the quarterfinals.
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The character needed to stand tall after allowing five goals at home is immense, and the 20-year-old Kelleher found it in him to make the decisive play of the day.
“I’ve done a lot of work with the keeper coach on saving penalties,” Kelleher said. “It was a crazy game to be a keeper, I didn’t have time to blink. It’s what dreams are made of, winning a shootout in front of the Kop. The atmosphere was amazing, I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
What a moment for the youngster, and it will be interesting to see whether Jurgen KIopp makes him his goalkeeper for the tournament now that the Reds are just three wins from silverware. Either way, he’ll have this night in his pocket for the rest of his life.
Qualification for Euro 2020 continued on Monday with a bang, and there were goals galore across the continent.
Here is a rundown of all the results:
[READ: Women’s World Cup roundup]
Spain 3-0 Sweden
La Furia Roja stayed perfect in Euro 2020 qualifying as it ran away 3-0 winners over Sweden at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Spain peppered the Sweden net early on and it looked as though Dani Parejo had put Spain up front with a tap in, but he was deemed offside. Sergio Ramos opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the 64th minute and then Alvaro Morata doubled it late with another penalty kick goal in the 85th minute. Mikel Oyarzabal put the finishing touches on the game two minutes later with a sweet left-footed finish past Sweden and Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
Poland 4-0 Israel
Poland moved five points clear of second-place Israel with a 4-0 win over the Blue and White at home in Warsaw. Krzysztof Piatek put Poland up 1-0 after a back and forth first half with a finish from an incredibly tight angle. It was still a pretty even game until Israeli centerback Shiran Yeini was whistled for a handball on the box while he slid to block a shot and the ball ricocheted into his hand. Robert Lewandowski stepped up and sent Israeli goalkeeper Ariel Harush the wrong way to put Poland in a commanding position, and Kamil Grosicki‘s left-footed strike truly put the game out of reach. Damian Kadzior’s final strike was the cherry on top for Poland in the big win as they sit comfortably on the way to qualifying.
Republic of Ireland 2-0 Gibralter
Robert Brady’s second half stoppage time goal helped lead the Republic of Ireland to a 2-0 win over the island of Gibraltar, putting Ireland at 10 points after four games, leading Group D, even ahead of Denmark, which knocked Ireland out of the 2018 World Cup. Ireland took the lead in the 29th minute after Seamus Coleman‘s cross was deflected into goal by Joseph Luis Chipolina.
Here are the other scores from around Euro 2020 qualifying:
Faroe Islands 0-2 Norway
Bulgaria 2-3 Kosovo
Serbia 4-1 Lithuania
Malta 0-4 Romania
Denmark 5-1 Georgia
North Macedonia 1-4 Austria
Czech Republic 3-0 Montenegro
Ukraine 1-0 Luxembourg
Latvia 0-5 Slovenia
Ahead of his potential debut for the England national team on Friday, Declan Rice has had to apologize for his past comments on social media.
Rice, 20, switched his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England last month after his rise to stardom in the Premier League over the past 12 months.
The West Ham academy produce made three friendly appearances for the Ireland senior team, as well as playing for their U17 side, but was born in England and FIFA approved his switch to represent the Three Lions.
Rice has apologized for the comments he made on social media in 2015 in response to his Irish teammates as he responded “up the RA” which is short for the IRA and “Wait until we get England” on Instagram.
“I am aware that a poorly-expressed comment I made when I was a junior player has been circulated on social media,” Rice said. “I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted. While my naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologize for any offence caused.”
Rice was called up to the England national team for the first time on Mar. 13 and is in line to play against the Czech Republic on Friday and against Montenegro next Monday in the Three Lions’ EURO 2020 qualifiers.
West Ham United defensive midfielder Declan Rice has made a decision on his international future, saying it was very difficult but his “heart and his head” say to file a one-time switch to represent England over the Republic of Ireland.
The 20-year-old was capped thrice for the Republic of Ireland, but his rise to a fixture under two managers at West Ham catapulted the possibilities of his representing the country of his birth, England.
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He was capped by Ireland at the U-16, U-17, U-19, and U-21 levels by Ireland before playing the full-90 for the senior team in a trio of 2018 friendlies against France, Turkey, and the U.S.
“I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London. However, I am just as proud of my family’s Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country.”
Read the full statement below. It’s a hammer blow to what could’ve been a decade-long answer to Ireland’s midfield, and a risk for Rice. That said, his promise is nearly immeasurable.
Martin O’Neill, and his bombastic, fiery assistant coach Roy Keane, are out of a job.
The pair, along with another two assistants, left their jobs with the Republic of Ireland National Team by mutual consent on Wednesday morning, one day after a scoreless draw in Denmark. The result ensured that the Republic would be relegated to League C in the next UEFA Nations League, earning just two points in four matches against Denmark and Wales.
O’Neill and his staff were in charge for 55 games since he took over on November 5, 2013. O’Neill nearly led his side to the 2018 World Cup, falling in the UEFA qualifying playoffs to Denmark over two legs. O’Neill’s Ireland squad was one of the darlings of Euro 2016, in part because of the fan support in France and because of Ireland’s 1-0 victory over Italy In the group stage, which put the Republic in the knockout round for the first time.
The future is bright for the Republic. O’Neill gave 28 players their first caps, including exciting 18-year-old Southampton striker Michael Obafemi, who could lead the line for the Irish in the years ahead.