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Rovers’ World Cup Countdown – 1982

11 June 2014

Noel Brotherston was flying the flag for Rovers at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

The Belfast-born winger, who played over 350 games for Rovers, was part of the Northern Ireland squad that reached the second round.

Northern Ireland drew their opening two games, 0-0 with Yugoslavia and 1-1 with Honduras, before beating Spain 1-0 to top Group 5.    

Brotherston made his World Cup bow in the second group game against Honduras, replacing Norman Whiteside midway through the second half.

He replaced Whiteside again in Northern Ireland’s opening second round fixture – an entertaining 2-2 draw with Austria – but was unused in the final group game against France, who dashed Irish dreams with a convincing 4-1 win.

Italy went on to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy courtesy of a 3-1 win over West Germany in the final. Brotherston died of a heart attack aged just 38.

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