England's match against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday ended in a dismal 0-0 stalemate; this has been the first visit of the "Three Lions" to Dublin since the riots during the 1995 friendly, when twenty people were injured and the game was abandoned.
The match was an important test for both teams, who will play their Euro 2016 qualifiers on Sunday. Both #Football associations were concerned about the events from 20 years ago; the English FA had written to all their supporters travelling to Dublin, warning them against bad behaviour.
The good news is that the friendly was conducted in a peaceful and relaxed manner, in an enjoyable atmosphere, and both groups of fans observed impeccably the national anthems played before kick-off.
The match itself, however, was a dull contest - England's first effort on target, their best move of the match, was in the 44th minute by Liverpool's Adam Lallana, who kicked from outside the box, but the ball went well over the bar. The hosts' goalkeeper Kieran Westwood did very little until the 57th minute of the game, when he cleared Wayne Rooney's free-kick, which went in the top left corner. The Three Lions' captain had a few scoring opportunities during the match, which he wasted; his overall performance was sub-standard and lacked focus. The visitors have not won against Ireland since their 2-1 victory in the 1985 friendly, and hoped that the score would change; but they have to wait for another opportunity.
The Irish side were also lethargic; their Championship top scorer Daryl Murphy, who plays as a striker for Ipswich Town, missed the best of their first-half chances, sending the balls wide. They seriously disturbed the English goalkeeper Joe Hart only once, when Stoke striker Jonathan Walters kecked from outside the box right in the top centre of the goal in the 61st minute.
The "Boys in Green" will host Scotland at the Aviva Stadium this Sunday; the game will be vital to their chance of competing in France 2016. England will play Slovenia in Ljubljana, but hopefully with more passion.