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Irish Football > Republic of Ireland Qualifying Campaigns > 1994 World Cup

Irish 1994 World Cup Qualifying Campaign

The Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in World Cup Group 3 that also included Spain, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Albania. The Irish, managed by Jack Charlton, were looking to qualify for successive World Cup Finals having had a successful qualifying campaign for the 1990 World Cup. Once again the favourites to win the group would be Spain, as in the previous campaign, but Denmark and Northern Ireland would be also be competing fiercely for one of the top two automatic qualifying spots.

Outstanding Start to 1994 World Cup Qualifying Group 3

Group 8 started for Ireland on the 26 May 1992 at Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium) against Albania. Goals from John Aldridge and Paul McGrath gave the Irish a 2-0 win over opponents that have always proved difficult to beat. This was followed up with a comprehensive 4-0 home win over Latvia. A John Aldridge hat trick being supplemented by a Kevin Sheedy goal in the 30th minute ensuring that Ireland had maximum points after two matches. Two 0-0 draws away to Denmark and Spain was followed up by a 3-0 win at Lansdowne Road over Northern Ireland. After five matches, three wins, two away draws against their main opponents, no losses, nine goals for and none against, left the Irish in pole position to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals in the USA.

1994 World Cup Qualifier Mid-Term Report

The Danes arrived at Lansdowne Road in April 1993 in good form having beaten Latvia and, group favourites, Spain in their previous two qualifiers. The Danes maintained their good form as they secured a draw against the Irish. It took a late equaliser by Niall Quinn to cancel out the Danish lead given to them by Vilfort in the 27th minute. After this hiccup Ireland went on a run of four consecutive wins, Albania and Latvia away, and Lithuania both home and away. Denmark kept the pressure on with four successive victories also. The Irish still had automatic qualification in their own hands with a home match against Spain and an away match with near neighbours Northern Ireland.

Penultimate 1994 World Cup Qualifying Match

On 13 October 1993 Spain arrived in Dublin on a mission and having being beaten by Denmark, the Spanish were intent upon getting a win. Ireland lined up in an unusual 4-5-1 formation due to an injury to John Aldridge and Niall Quinn was the lone striker. Within 27 minutes the Spanish had raced to a 0-3 lead playing fast counter-attacking soccer. The formation was foreign to the Irish style of play but the Republic's cause was not helped by a very poor performance by defender Alan Kernaghan who was responsible for two of the Spaniard's goals. John Sheridan scored a consolation goal in the 72nd minute but it was too little too late.

Grand Finale to 1994 World Cup Qualification Campaign

Going into the last football match of qualifying group 3 the Irish would qualify if they won in Belfast against Northern Ireland and, depending upon what happened between Spain and Denmark in Seville, a draw might even do.

In his last match as manager of Northern Ireland, Billy Bingham inflamed an already fraught occasion by branding the Republic of Ireland players as a "bunch of mercenaries". It was very hostile environment in Windsor Park and with qualification out of reach the Northern Irish players were playing only for pride.

The Republic team was on the rack early on with Packy Bonner called upon to make a few saves. Gradually the Republic moved into the ascendancy playing pressing soccer but not making the breakthrough. Then in the 73rd minute disaster struck when 34 year old Jimmy Quinn struck for Northern Ireland volleying past Bonner.

The Republic looked to be heading out of the 1994 World Cup. The gloom didn't last long though. Alan McLoughlin scored his first goal for the Republic of Ireland when he fired a poor clearance from the Northern Ireland defence through a crowded box into the net. With Spain winning 1-0 in Seville, the Republic of Ireland had qualified for the 1994 World Cup Finals by finishing second in qualifying Group 3.

Irish World Cup 1994 Qualifying Campaign - Group Table

World Cup 1994 - Qualifying Group 3

Goals F
Goals A
Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland World Cup 1994 Qualifying Campaign - Match Results

22/04/92: Seville: Spain 3-0 Albania
28/04/92: Belfast: Northern Ireland 2-2 Lithuania

26/05/92: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 2-0 Albania
John Aldridge 60, Paul McGrath 80

03/06/92: Tirana: Albania 1-0 Lithuania

12/08/92: Riga: Latvia 1-2 Lithuania

26/08/92: Riga: Latvia 0-0 Denmark

09/09/92: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 4-0 Latvia
Kevin Sheedy 30, John Aldridge 5, 82 Pen, 86
09/09/92: Belfast: Northern Ireland 3-0 Albania

23/09/92: Vilnius: Lithuania 0-0 Denmark
23/09/92: Riga: Latvia 0-0 Spain

14/10/92: Copenhagen: Denmark 0-0 Ireland

14/10/92: Belfast: Northern Ireland 0-0 Spain

28/10/92: Vilnius: Lithuania 1-1 Latvia

11/11/92: Tirana: Albania 1-1 Latvia

18/11/92: Belfast: Northern Ireland 0-1 Denmark
18/11/92: Seville: Spain 0-0 Ireland

16/12/92: Seville: Spain 5-0 Latvia

17/02/93: Tirana: Albania 1-2 Northern Ireland

24/02/93: Seville: Spain 5-0 Lithuania

31/03/93: Copenhagen: Denmark 1-0 Spain
31/03/93: Lansdowne Rd, Dublin: Ireland 3-0 Northern Ireland
Andy Townsend 20, Niall Quinn 22, Stephen Staunton 28

14/04/93: Copenhagen: Denmark 2-0 Latvia
14/04/93: Vilnius: Lithuania 3-1 Albania

28/04/93: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 1-1 Denmark
Niall Quinn 75 / Vilfort 27
28/04/93: Seville: Spain 3-1 Northern Ireland

15/05/93: Riga: Latvia 0-0 Albania

25/05/93: Vilnius: Lithuania 0-1 Northern Ireland

26/05/93: Tirana: Albania 1-2 Ireland
Kushta 7 / Steve Staunton 13, Tony Cascarino 77

02/06/93: Copenhagen: Denmark 4-0 Albania
02/06/93: Riga: Latvia 1-2 Northern Ireland
02/06/93: Vilnius: Lithuania 0-2 Spain

09/06/93: Riga: Latvia 0-2 Ireland
John Aldridge 14, Paul McGrath 43

16/06/93: Vilnius: Lithuania 0-1 Ireland

Stephen Staunton 40

25/08/93: Copenhagen: Denmark 4-0 Lithuania

08/09/93: Tirana: Albania 0-1 Denmark
08/09/93: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 2-0 Lithuania
John Aldridge 5, Alan Kernaghan 26

08/09/93: Belfast: Northern Ireland 2-0 Latvia

22/09/93: Tirana: Albania 1-5 Spain

13/10/93: Copenhagen: Denmark 1-0 Northern Ireland
13/10/93: Dublin: Ireland 1-3 Spain
John Sheridan 72 / Caminero 11, Salinas 14, 26

17/11/93: Belfast: Northern Ireland 1-1 Ireland
Jimmy Quinn 73 / Alan McLoughlin 76
17/11/93: Seville: Spain 1-0 Denmark

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