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Irish Football > Republic of Ireland Qualifying Campaigns > 1950 World Cup

Irish 1950 World Cup Qualifying Campaign

In the 1950 World Cup Finals qualification competition the Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in Group 5 that also included Sweden and Finland. The group winner would qualify automatically for the finals in Brazil. This was in the era before there were Irish soccer managers as we know them and when the Irish soccer team was picked by a selection committee.

After playing two matches in the qualifying group Finland withdrew from the competition (reason unknown). FIFA declared that the games already played by Finland were friendly matches and did not count towards World Cup qualification matches. Sweden went on to qualify for the 1950 World Cup Finals in Brazil by virtue of the fact that they beat the Republic of Ireland 3-1 both in Sweden and in Dalymount Park in Dublin.

Another avenue to the 1950 World Cup finals in Brazil opened up for Ireland when Scotland withdrew from the competition. FIFA sent a telegram to the FAI enquiring if Ireland would be prepared to travel to Brazil.

The International Affairs Committee decided to accept, but the FAI Treasurer, MJ Kenny, warned against taking part in the 1950 World Cup. Kenny had estimated that the cost of taking part in the the competition in Brazil would cost at least 2,700 (€3,500 approx), which he said would bankrupt the FAI. A diplomatic announcement was made stating that the Association was unable to accept the invitation due to the short notice.

In fact if the Irish had taken part in the 1950 World Cup the FAI would have reaped a major financial dividend. The appetite of Brazilian fans for the first finals since 1938 was such that world record attendances and receipts were set in the new Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro. In the end only 13 countries took part, instead of the intended 16, and so successful was the tournament that all the expenses had been covered before the final group games. Each of the 13 finalists earned a significant profit.

Having missed out on this opportunity to play in the 1950 competition it would be a further 40 years before an Irish football team would grace the World Cup Finals - at Italia 90.

Republic of Ireland World Cup 1950 Qualifying Campaign - Match Results

02/06/49: Stockholm: Sweden 3-1 Ireland
Anderson 17 Pen, Jeppson 37, Liedholm 69 / Davy Walsh 9

08/09/49: Dalymount Park, Dublin: Ireland 3-0 Finland**
Johnny Gavin 35, Con Martin 44 Pen & 68

02/10/49: Malmo: Sweden* 8-1 Finland**

09/10/49: Helsinki: Finland** 1-1 Ireland
Vaihela 89 / Peter Farrell 65

13/11/49: Dalymount Park, Dublin: Ireland 1-3 Sweden
Con Martin 61 Pen
/ Palmer 4, 40 & 68

*Sweden fielded their B team.
**Finland withdrew from the qualifying competition so FIFA deemed their matches played to be friendlies.

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