Jason McAteer on how Mario Melchiot and invading space contributed to his Ireland winner against the Dutch

Former Ireland and Liverpool player was speaking to Team 33

BY Raf Diallo 13:35 Wednesday 25 May 2016, 13:35 25 May 2016

Jason McAteer celebrates his goal with Matt Holland and Ian Harte of the Republic of Ireland ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Just like 2002, Ireland will be going to a major tournament that the Netherlands will be absent from.

This time on Friday, we face the traditional giant of European football in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly, whereas over a decade ago, we of course played a direct role in the Dutch failure to reach a major tournament.

That of course, was the famous Lansdowne Road goal that flew off the boot of Jason McAteer and into the net to give us a famous and crucial 1-0 win over an uber-talented side.

This time last month, Newstalk's Team 33 sat down with McAteer at the Aviva Stadium for the #PowerofGreen Storytellers event, with the modern Lansdowne Road pitch and the goals he scored in shimmering through a glass screen in the background of the room where we were recording. Just with stands, emptier and more silent than the moment below.

If you've ever read David Winner's tome on Dutch football Brilliant Orange, the obsession with space in society, architecture and football is very evident in the Netherlands.

And space invading was what McAteer did by cleverly ghosting infield to a zone that should have been occupied by another ex-Premier League player in the shape of Mario Melchiot. 

"I mentioned before that there was someone out of position," McAteer began with a laugh when Melchiot's minor role in his famous goal was brought up.

Mario Melchiot of Holland and Kevin Kilbane of Ireland during the famous game ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

"I didn't want to mention any names but Mario it was. To be honest, I'd taken a corner and the ball had been cleared and I should have got back into position. I don't know what made me stay there. We won possession and there were a lot of things between winning possession and me putting the ball in the back of the net.

"There was a good advantage, there was a foul play but referee played advantage. Stevie Finnan, he didn't have to go on the overlap because there was no one to overlap because I was in the wrong position but the ball fell to me and I just wandered around and waited for things to develop.

As Robbie Keane once said of Lionel Messi, waiting around rather than constant movement is one way of creating space and that worked out for McAteer.

He continued: "Damien Duff tried to flick it on, he missed and it landed to me and I don't know why it happened. But instinct took over and it ended up in the back of the net."

We will play out the full chat with McAteer on Team 33's Euro 2016 shows, along with interviews with Ray Houghton, Charlie O'Leary and Mick Byrne.

Irish football legends Jason McAteer and Ray Houghton were in Dublin on April 26th to share their #PowerOfGreen moments from their days in the green jersey. Joining them were former kit man for the Boys in Green, Charlie O'Leary and former Irish team physio, Mick Byrne.

They were speaking at the launch of SSE Airtricity's summer football campaign at Aviva Stadium. All customers who switch to SSE Airtricity will now receive the new official Ireland football jersey free, as well as 15% off their home energy.

The legends and special guests spoke about the power of the green jersey and the pride it evokes. They shared their favourite memories of wearing it, from McAteer's famous strike against Holland in '01, to Houghton putting the ball in the English net in '88 and breaking Italian hearts in '92.

With SSE Airtricity's Ireland jersey top offer, new memories will be made in 2016 that will last a lifetime. Fans can get theirs free by switching to SSE Airtricity today. For more information on how to switch, please visitwww.sseairtricity.com


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