January 31, 2023

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.

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
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European Nations Cup 1968
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Euro 1992
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Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish Euro Championship Finals Qualifying Campaigns

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World Cup 1968 Appearances
Euro 1972 Appearances
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