After an insulting defeat against Northern Ireland on May 27, the coaching staff of the national team of Belarus worked on their mistakes. In the first half of the match against Ireland Belarus played unexpectedly well. Footballers were strictly playing in defense, but were constantly looking for happiness near the opponents' goal.
One of attacks in the 20th minute resulted in a goal. Stasevich passed to Gordeychuk, who sent the ball into Given's net.
Strong defensive play allowed Belarusians to maintain a clean sheet in the first half.
The second half began with Irish pressure on Belarus' goal. Corners came one after another but Belarus' goalie Chernik managed to keep the ball out.
During almost 20 minutes Belarus could not leave their half. But in the first counterattack, Maksim Volodko scored to make it 0:2. The attack was begun by Nikolai Yanush, who passed to Maksim, who ran into the penalty area to get the ball and score. The ball caught a defender's leg and ricocheted into the far bottom corner!
The attacking ardor of the hosts almost immediately waned and the Irish coach made several substitutions, one of which paid off in the end. After 72 minutes, fresh Long assisted lone Ward, who calmly shot past Chernik for 1:2.
The remaining time was marked by constant attacks of the Irish, while Belarusians' counters were not that dangerous because of mistakes and fatigue. Yet the Belarusian players survived and won a hard battle.
Ireland's national team had earlier qualified for the European Championship 2016 in France. The debut of the Irish in finals of major tournaments took place at Euro 1988. After that, the Irish twice made their way to the World Cup, reaching the quarterfinals at the tournament in Italy in 1990. The third participation in the FIFA World Cup was in 2002. Also, the team made its way to the final stage of Euro 2012.
Belarus has never reached the finals of major continental or world tournaments.