Republic of Ireland on course for first finals since 1994
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) -- Ireland, down to 10 men, defeated the Netherlands 1-0 Saturday in a World Cup qualifier to effectively put an end to the Dutch hopes of making next year's finals.
Jason McAteer's goal in the 68th minute - 10 minutes after defender Gary Kelly had been sent off - guarantees Ireland at least second place in group two and a place in the playoffs.
"I'm running on adrenaline," Ireland manager Mick McCarthy said. "I'm so proud of the team. They were just magnificent, they surpassed all my expectations today. It's a very proud moment."
Ireland last featured in the World Cup in 1990 and 1994.
The Netherlands' only chance to travel to South Korea and Japan next year would be for Portugal to lose its next three games against eliminated Andorra, Cyprus and Estonia.
Portugal, which plays Andorra later Saturday, is expected to win the group.
The Netherlands was a semifinalist at the 1998 World Cup in France and was runner up in 1974 and 1978. It has not missed a World Cup since 1986.
The Dutch had the better of play in the first half but failed to convert their numerous chances. They then had a man advantage when Kelly was sent off for a second yellow card in the 58th minute after his second tackle on Dutch winger Marc Overmars.
The Dutch had a penalty appeal turned down soon after when Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given collided with striker Ruud van Nistelrooy in front of an open goal.
Ireland then rearranged its formation, sending on midfielder Steve Finnan to replace striker Robbie Keane. Ten minutes after coming on, Finnan, who was being closely marked by Dutch captain Phillip Cocu, passed to an unmarked McAteer who caught Edwin van der Sar off his line and fired a half volley to score.
The Dutch sent in three more strikers off the bench in an attempt to equalize, but even Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Pierre van Hooijdonk and Giovanni van Bronckhorst could not convert any of the Netherlands' 24 attempts on goal.
The Dutch were without regular captain Frank de Boer through injury, despite his drug ban for nandrolone ending Friday. Influential midfielder Edgar Davids, whose nandrolone suspension is still in force, watched from the sidelines.
The Dutch should have scored in the second minute, but Patrick Kluivert sent his attempt wide. Mark van Bommel, Boudewijn Zenden and van Nistelrooy also missed attempts in the first half.
After Ireland scored, the Dutch attacks on goal became even more desperate, but the Irish defense, led by captain Roy Keane, held firm.
The win was Ireland's 14th consecutive competitive victory at home. The Dutch loss puts a question mark over the future of manager Louis van Gaal.
IRELAND: Shay Given, Gary Kelly, Richard Dunne, Steve Staunton, Ian Harte, Jason McAteer, Matt Holland, Kevin Kilbane, Roy Keane, Robbie Keane (Steve Finnan 58), Damien Duff.
NETHERLANDS: Edwin Van der Sar, Mario Melchiot, Jaap Stam, Kevin Hofland, Arthur Numan (Pierre van Hooijdonk 62), Phillip Cocu, Mark Van Bommel, Boudewijn Zenden (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 55), Marc Overmars (Giovanni van Bronckhorst 70), Patrick Kluivert, Ruud van Nistelrooy.