April 23, 2024

Irish Play Off Matches for Major Football Finals

The Republic of Ireland has only qualified for five major football final competitions: Euro 1988, 1990 World Cup, 1994 World Cup, 2002 World Cup, and the 2012 Euro finals. If the Irish had won all of their qualifier play-off matches over the decades that number would be far greater. Ireland has now qualified for eight play-off ties starting with the 1966 World Cup finals in England right up to the Euro 2016 finals in France.

The first two play-off ties that Ireland reached, in 1965 and 1995, were single matches at a neutral venue. All other play-off ties have been over two legs on a home & away basis. Strangely, until the play-off tie in 2011 against Estonia, Ireland had always been drawn to play the home match first. It is generally accepted that there is an advantage in playing the home match second. This was an advantage denied to the Irish in their first four two-legged play-off ties. This may explain in part why Ireland has only won through the play-off stages just twice.

Irish Play Off Ties

1) 1966 WC Play Off – Ireland v Spain in 1965

Ireland was drawn with Spain and Syria in the qualification group for the 1966 Word Cup finals in England. Following the withdrawal of Syria, Ireland and Spain played each other home and away. Ireland beat Spain 1-0 at Dalymount Park in Dublin but lost 4-1 at the Sanchez Tizjuan Stadium in Seville. In those days goal difference did not count so qualification came own to a single play-off match at a neutral venue.
Read more about the Ireland Spain Play Off

2) Euro 1996 Play Off – Ireland v Holland 1995

Following Jack Charlton’s last qualification campaign as Irish football manager Ireland had finished in the runners-up position six points adrift of Portugal and only ahead of Northern Ireland on goal difference. Ireland’s reward was a single play-off match against the Netherlands at the Liverpool FC football ground Anfield Road.
Read more about the Ireland Holland Play Off

3) 1998 WC Play Off – Ireland v Belgium 1997

New Irish manager, Mick McCarthy, did not have a great qualification campaign for the 1998 World Cup finals. Despite finishing a full ten points behind group winners Romania, Ireland still managed to beat Lithuania to the runners-up position. This was enough to earn Ireland a two-legged play-off against Belgium.
Read more about the Ireland Belgium Play Off

4) Euro 2000 Play Off – Ireland v Turkey 1999

Mick McCarthy managed the Republic of Ireland to a third consecutive play-off challenge in 1999. The Irish qualification campaign for Euro 2000 was marred by the concession of a last minute goal in the last group match against Macedonia. This deprived McCarthy of outright qualification and set up a difficult play-off tie against Turkey.
Read more about the Ireland Turkey Play Off

5) 2002 World Cup Play Off – Ireland v Iran 2001

Mick McCarthy’s third consecutive, and Ireland’s fifth, play-off tie finally yielded qualification for a major football finals competition. McCarthy became only the second Irish manager to lead the Republic of Ireland to the World Cup finals. An aggregate 2-1 win over Iran in the play-offs meant Ireland were heading to Japan and South Korea for the 2002 World Cup.
Read more about the Ireland Iran Play Off

6) 2010 World Cup Play Off – Ireland v France 2009

In his first qualification campaign Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni guided the Irish to second place in the 2010 World Cup Group 8. Although Ireland was six points adrift of group winners Italy the performance was enough to earn a play-off tie against another European football aristocrat, France. The second leg of the play-off tie was hugely eventful including the now infamous Thierry Henry handball incident.
Read more about the Ireland France Play Off

7) Euro 2012 Play Off – Ireland v Estonia 2011

Giovanni Trapattoni led the Republic of Ireland to a second consecutive play-off tie when the Irish finished second to Russia in Euro 2012 qualification Group B.

Due to improved FIFA rankings Ireland was one of the seeded teams which meant that the Irish avoided some very dangerous potential opponents.

As it turned out Ireland was drawn against the weakest team of the second seeds – Estonia. Trapattoni had another stroke of luck when Ireland were drawn to play the first leg away from home.
Read more about the Ireland Estonia Play Off

8) Euro 2016 Play Off – Ireland v Bosnia & Herzegovina 2015

Martin O’Neill guided the Republic of Ireland through a tough Euro 2016 qualifying campaign that included opposition from World Champions Germany, Poland and Scotland. Despite a mixture of poor, and exceptional, results Ireland achieved the outcome that most fans had expected when the draw was first made – a third place play-off position.

The un-seeded Irish were drawn against top seeds Bosnia & Herzegovina in the play-off draw with the second leg to be played in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Read more about the Ireland Bosnia Herzegovina Play Off

Irish World Cup Qualifying Group Results

World Cup 1950 Qualification
World Cup 1954 Qualification
World Cup 1958 Qualification
1962 World Cup Qualifying
1966 World Cup Qualifying
1970 World Cup Qualifying
1974 World Cup Qualifiers
1978 World Cup Qualifiers
1982 World Cup Qualifiers
1986 World Cup Qualification
1990 World Cup Qualification
1994 World Cup Qualification
1998 World Cup Qualifiers
2002 World Cup Qualifiers
2006 World Cup Qualifiers
World Cup 2010 Qualification
World Cup 2014 Qualifiers
World Cup 2018 Qualifiers

Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish World Cup Qualifying Campaigns

World Cup 1938 Appearances
World Cup 1950 Appearances
World Cup 1954 Appearances
1958 World Cup Appearances
1962 World Cup Appearances
1966 World Cup Appearances
1970 World Cup Appearances
1974 World Cup Appearances
1978 World Cup Appearances
1982 World Cup Appearances
1986 World Cup Appearances
1990 World Cup Appearances
1994 World Cup Appearances
1998 World Cup Appearances
2002 World Cup Appearances
World Cup 2006 Appearances
World Cup 2010 Appearances
World Cup 2014 Appearances
World Cup 2018 Appearances

Irish European Championship Qualifying Group Results

European Nations Cup 1960
European Nations Cup 1964
European Nations Cup 1968
European Championship 1972
Euro Championship 1976
Euro Championship 1980
European Championship 1984
Euro 1988
Euro 1992
Euro 1996 Qualifiers
Euro 2000 Qualifiers
2004 Euro Qualifiers
Euro 2008 Qualifiers
Euro 2012 Qualifiers
Irish Euro 2012 Play Offs
Euro 2016 Qualifiers
Euro 2020 Qualifiers
Euro 2024 Qualifiers

Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish Euro Championship Finals Qualifying Campaigns

Euro 1960 Appearances
Euro 1964 Appearances
World Cup 1968 Appearances
Euro 1972 Appearances
Euro 1976 Appearances
Euro 1980 Appearances
Euro 1984 Appearances
Euro 1988 Appearances
Euro 1992 Appearances
Euro 1996 Appearances
Euro 2000 Appearances
Euro 2004 Appearances
Euro 2008 Appearances
Euro 2012 Appearances
Euro 2016 Appearances


Ireland Euro 88
Irish Squad Euro 88
Ireland v England Euro 88
Ireland v Soviet Union Euro 88
Ireland v Holland Euro 88
Ireland & 1990 World Cup Finals
Irish Squad World Cup 1990
Ireland V England 1990
Ireland V Egypt 1990
Ireland V Holland 1990
Ireland V Romania 1990
Ireland V Italy 1990
Ireland & 2002 World Cup Finals
2002 World Cup Irish Squad
2002 World Cup Irish Group Matches
Ireland V Cameroon 2002
Ireland V Germany 2002
Ireland V Saudi Arabia 2002
Ireland V Spain 2002


Ireland & 1994 World Cup Finals
Irish Squad World Cup 1994
Ireland V Italy 1994
Ireland V Mexico 1994
Ireland V Norway 1994
Ireland V Netherlands 1994
Ireland Euro 2012
Euro 2012 Fixture List
Ireland Euro 2012 Squad
Euro 2012 Warm-up Matches
Ireland V Croatia 2012
Ireland V Spain 2012
Ireland V Italy 2012
Fields of Athenry at Euro 2012
Ireland’s Play Off Matches
Ireland Spain Play Off
Ireland Holland Play Off
Ireland Belgium Play Off
Ireland Turkey Play Off
Ireland Iran Play Off
Ireland France Play Off
Ireland Estonia Play Off
Ireland Bosnia Herzegovina Play Off


Ireland Euro 2016 – Irish Squad Euro 2016 – Ireland V Sweden Euro 2016
Ireland V Belgium Euro 2016 -Ireland V Italy Euro 2016 – Ireland V France Euro 2016


All Irish Football Results
Ireland Austria Football Results
Ireland Bosnia & Herzegovina Football Results
Ireland Croatia Football Results
Ireland England Football Results
Ireland Faroe Islands Football Results
Ireland Germany Football Results
Ireland Georgia Football Results
Ireland Gibraltar Football Results
Ireland Italy Football Results
Ireland Kazakhstan Football Results
Ireland Moldova Football Results
Ireland Holland Football Results
Ireland Poland Football Results
Ireland Scotland Football Results
Ireland Serbia Football Results
Ireland Spain Football Results
Ireland Sweden Football Results
Ireland Wales Football Results

Irish International Match Results 1924 – 1939
Ireland Soccer Results 1940 – 1959
Republic of Ireland Results 1960 – 1969
Irish International Soccer Results 1970 – 1979
Republic of Ireland Soccer Results 1980 – 1984
Irish International Soccer Results 1985 – 1989
Irish Soccer Team Results 1990 – 1994
Republic of Ireland Football Results 1995 – 1999
Irish International Football Results 2000 – 2004
Republic of Ireland Soccer Results 2005 – 2009
Republic of Ireland Football Fixtures & Results 2010
Republic of Ireland Fixtures & Results 2011
Republic of Ireland Fixtures & Results 2012
Republic of Ireland Fixtures & Results 2013
Republic of Ireland Fixtures & Results 2014
Republic of Ireland Fixtures & Results 2015
Republic of Ireland Fixtures & Results 2016
Republic of Ireland Fixtures & Results 2017

Irish International Soccer Results Index Page

Irish Soccer Information
Irish Football Club Directory Irish Soccer Leagues Women’s Soccer in Ireland
Dublin Football Clubs Football Association of Ireland Irish Soccer Players
Dublin Football Clubs by Area Irish Football Club Websites Futsal in Ireland
Irish Soccer Managers Irish Soccer Results
Irish Football History Football Pundits
Irish Soccer Referees Republic of Ireland Managers
League of Ireland Irish Football Statistics