Republic of Ireland national football team

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Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland
Nickname(s) The Green Army
Association Football Association of Ireland (FAI)
Confederation EFU
FIFA ranking 68 Decrease 4 (31 December 1963)
Highest FIFA ranking 16 (1936-1938)
Lowest FIFA ranking 68 (1963)
First international Irish Free State  1–0 Bulgaria 
(Colombes, France; 28 May 1924)
World Cup appearances 1 (First in 1934)
Best result Group Stage, 1934

Olympic medal record
Men's Football
Bronze medal – third place 1924 Paris Team

The Republic of Ireland national football team represents the Republic of Ireland in international association football. It is controlled by the Football Association of Ireland.

History[edit | edit source]

Irish Free State[edit | edit source]

Before 1924, the Irish Free State was part of the Ireland team which mainly competed in the British Home Championship and the first three FIFA World Cups with their best performance being a quarter-final appearance in 1910. Though in 1920, Ireland was split into Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State which was originally named Eire. In 1923, FIFA recognize the FAIFS as the governing body of Ireland football. The next year, the Irish Free State competed in their first international tournament which was the 1924 Summer Olympics which was held in France. In the first match for Ireland, a single goal from Paddy Duncan booked the Irish spot into the quarter-finals as they defeated Bulgaria. Two goals from Frank Ghent saw Ireland defeat the Netherlands before they lost to eventual gold medalists Uruguay in the semis. Though another gold medal from Paddy Duncan in the third place playoff meant that Ireland still claimed the bronze medal.

After getting knocked out in the round of 16 to Egypt at the 1928 Summer Olympics, the Irish Free State competed in the first World Cup qualification in a group which featured Luxembourg, Netherlands and Spain. After defeating the Spanish 2-1 in their opening game in Barcelona, they would lose 3-0 to the Netherlands at home. A 58th minute goal from Johnny Murray meant that the team finished ahead of Luxembourg and had to play in a play-off against Egypt. Two goals from Raqab Hasan both in the first half cause the team to compete in another play-off, this time against Peru. Despite playing at home, a single goal from Juan Bulnes meant that Peru went through to the World Cup, while the Irish Free State missed out.

The Irish Free State then competed in the qualifying for the 1934 FIFA World Cup. Not competing in the 1933 WEFF Championship, the team was drawn in Group 2.1 with Hungary and Switzerland. Two goals from John Squires gave the Irish a first up draw against the Hungarians before a 2-1 win over Switzerland in Dublin meant that they qualified for their first World Cup. Competing in Group B with Belgium, France and Italy, the Irish Free State would only score a single point from their three games with that being against France with Paddy Bermingham being the goalscorer. Also during this time, players competed for both the Ireland team that competed in the Home Championship and the national team. This confusion though would disappear by 1935 when Northern Ireland replaced the Ireland team.

The following two tournaments was the 1935 and 1937 WEFF Championship respectively with the former being for the 1938 FIFA World Cup which was held in Argentina. On both occasions, the Irish qualified through to the group stage of the main tournament but wouldn't qualify through to the semi-finals with the team only scoring two points and that was only in the 1937 edition with two draws against Italy and Belgium respectively. Tom Davis scoring two goals at the 1937 edition.

Republic of Ireland[edit | edit source]

After the war, the Republic of Ireland competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics, though they wouldn't even advance past the preliminary round with a 2-1 loss to the Netherlands. This was then followed by finishing second in the qualification group for the 1950 FIFA World Cup which once again featured the Netherlands and Portugal. The following World Cup qualifying campaign in 1954 saw the team compete in Group 8 with Hungary and Iceland. Once again, the Republic of Ireland finished second in the group after defeating Iceland twice before losing to the Hungarians both home and away with two goals from Ferenc Puskás ending the Irish hopes.

In mid 1955, the Republic of Ireland competed in the first ever qualifying for the brand new European Nations Cup. In the opening match against Saar, Dermot Curtis scored four of the five goals in the aggregate victory to advance the team to the first round where they once again took on the Netherlands. A single goal from Abe Lenstra in the second leg ending the Irish hopes of making to the quarters. Though the Irish would get back during the 1958 qualifying campaign with wins both home and away. Two losses against Turkey wouldn't see Ireland once again finish second in their World Cup qualifying group.

During the late 1950s and early 60s, the Republic of Ireland struggled to get anywhere through qualifying for major tournaments. The first instance that it had occurred was in the qualification phase for the 1960 European Nations' Cup where despite a two all in the first leg with Liam Tuhoy scoring both goals, a 3-0 defeat in the second leg meant that they didn't advance out of the preliminary round. Another second place finish in the group for the 1960 Summer Olympics was then followed by finishing fifth in their qualification group for the 1962 FIFA World Cup with their only win during the campaign being a 1–0 win over Cyprus in Dublin.

FIFA World Cup[edit | edit source]

     Gold       Silver       Bronze  

FIFA World Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA
France 1906 Part of  Ireland
England 1914
Netherlands 1922
Spain 1926 Did Not Participate
Uruguay 1930 Did Not Qualify
Italy 1934 Group Stage 13th 3 0 1 2 2 5
Argentina 1938 Did Not Qualify
Sweden 1950
Chile 1954
Switzerland 1958
Mexico 1962
Total Group Stage 1/12 3 0 1 2 2 5

External links[edit | edit source]

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