It’s been a quick five years since the infamous Thierry Henry handball effectively halted any chances of Ireland making it to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Here is a list of 14 things that have happened around the world since that faithful day in 2009.
14. Ireland’s opponents from last night’s friendly – the USA have played in two World Cups since 2009, reaching the last 16 on both occasions. Last year’s heroics included a 2-1 win over Ghana, a 2-2 draw with Portugal and two narrow losses to Germany and Belgium respectively, the latter being a loss after extra time in the round of 16.
13. A volcano ash cloud halted flights in most of Europe’s airspace in April of 2010. Interestingly, a similar ash cloud incident in 2008 halted Robert Lewandowski from doing a deal to sign for Blackburn Rovers.
12. Apple launched the iPad. Another of Apple’s never-ending inventions to bridge the gap between smartphone and laptop use, presumably.
11. In early 2011 The BBC reported the resignation of Hosni Mubarak – Egypt’s President who subsequently handed power to the military following mass protests across Cairo and other Egyptian cities.
10. Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27.
9. Rory McIlroy won the US Open in June 2011. The young golfer proved his worth in one of the world’s biggest golfing tournaments.
8. Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder died, aged 56.
7. In Febuary 2012 singer Whitney Houston died, aged 48.
6. Ireland competed in Euro 2012, which was jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine. Ireland had a disastrous tournament, following a fantastic playoff result against Estonia leading into the summer. Three defeats to Italy, Spain and Croatia ended Ireland’s hopes of progression.
5. In April 2013, two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon injured hundreds and killed three people.
4. South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 in December 2013.
3. Dublin won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for the second time in three years in September 2013.
2. Real Madrid won the Champions League final against their cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 after extra time.
1. The 2014 World Cup took place in South Africa with Germany coming away as deserved winners after an extra time winner from Mario Gotze.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena