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Ireland head back to scene of triumph

IT’S all back to Ray’s place for the Green Army.

The Stuttgart stadium where Ray Houghton scored his famous winning goal for the Republic of Ireland against England in Euro 88 has been chosen as the venue for Ireland’s opening Euro 08 qualifier against Germany on September 2.

Known as the Neckar Stadium when Houghton "put the ball in the English net", the 50,000-capacity ground is now called the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion and has been modernised for this summer’s World Cup finals.

Home to Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart, the stadium was the scene of Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s debut as a player and was in the news earlier this week when Middlesbrough beat Stuttgart there in the Uefa Cup.

But for Irish fans, the venue will forever be associated with the win over England in 1988, which set in train the most successful years in the country’s football history.