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   June 17, 2002 | 1153 IST


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No excuses for dreadful penalties - Charlton

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Former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton has attacked the players for missing penalties in their World Cup shootout with Spain which knocked them out of the competition on Sunday.

"It's bloody frustrating. Once we equalised, Ireland should definitely have won the game. There are no excuses," Charlton said in a column published in Monday's Daily Mirror.

"The penalties were just dreadful. I don't feel for the players who missed them at all.

"They are professional players and that's their job," Charlton added. The former England defender, a World Cup winner in 1966 as a player, feels that Ireland had not prepared well enough for the prospect of a penalty shootout.

"Penalties are important. Once you get into the knockout stages of any competition, some games are going to end up in a shootout.

"But when it came to it, the (Irish) penalties were so bad. There is no excuse for going wide or over."


Coach Mick McCarthy said after the defeat following a 1-1 draw in extra time that practising for penalties was "garbage" and the shootouts were a lottery.

Ireland went into the match as huge underdogs and fell behind when Fernando Morientes scored in the eighth minute.

But they refused to give up and their resilience was rewarded when Robbie Keane equalised in the dying minutes -- ironically from the penalty spot.

Although Ireland looked the stronger of the sides in extra time, Spain prevailed 3-2 in a penalty shootout and will meet either Italy or South Korea in the quarter-finals.

Charlton -- who led Ireland to the quarter-finals in 1990 and the last 16 in 1994 -- was disappointed that the Irish were unable to go on and win the game after they had equalised.

The shootout was a nervous affair, with Matt Holland, David Connolly and Kevin Kilbane failing to score for Ireland and Juanfran and Juan Carlos Valeron missing for Spain before Gaizka Mendieta slotted home the winning spot-kick.

Although he was critical of Ireland's failure from the penalty spot, Charlton was keen to praise the team's overall performance.

"We had the best of the game in the second half and we had the best of the game in extra time but we lost.

"We are coming home -- but we were never beaten.

"For a small country like Ireland to get as far as they did in this World Cup is a real achievement.

"The whole world knows Ireland are a team to be reckoned with and if it wasn't for the penalties you would always fancy Ireland to beat more teams and keep progressing," Charlton added.

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