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International round-up: Asmir Begovic powerless to prevent Ireland advancing to Euro 2016

Handball karma

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Six year ago, in large part thanks to a Thierry Henry handball, the Republic of Ireland missed out the 2010 World Cup.  Now, thanks in large part to a ridiculous decision to award a penalty kick for a "handball" inside the area by Bosnia's Ervin Zukanovic, they are heading to Euro 2016 (which, incidentally, will be held in Thierry Henry's home country).

The first leg in foggy and tiny Zenica finished 1-1 on Friday, and thanks to the away goals rule, the Irish knew that if they didn't concede, they'd be on their way.  Unsurprisingly, Martin O'Neill set his team out with that main purpose in mind, but with one key change from Friday night that proved decisive:  the return of Jonathan Walters from suspension.  The Stoke City man and one-time Chelsea legend (literally, just that one time) ended up scoring both goals in the 2-0 win for the home side in front of a sold-out and raucous stadium in Dublin.  That party will go long into the night, methinks.

Begovic in the Bosnia goal couldn't do much about either goal.  He went the wrong way on the penalty kick and the second goal was a result of some shambolic set piece defending.  The Chelsea goalkeeper did have a shaky moment all of his own creation, but disaster was averted.

Earlier in the day, England U21 beat Switzerland 3-1 thanks to a high impact substitute appearance from Sunderland's Duncan Watmore who won a penalty, then scored a goal, then provided an assist, all in the final 8 minutes of the match.  Lewis Baker, John Swift, and Nathaniel Chalobah played the full match, Dominic Solanke the vast majority of it.  A somewhat unimpressive Ruben Loftus-Cheek was hauled off after 75 for the aforementioned Watmore.