Irish 1958 World Cup Qualifying Campaign
In the 1958 World Cup Finals qualification competition the Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in World Cup Group 1 that also included the England and Denmark. The group winner would qualify automatically for the finals in Sweden. This was in the era before there were Irish soccer managers as we know them today and when the Irish soccer team was picked by a selection committee.
Ireland got off to a good start to the World Cup qualifying group in October 1956 when Denmark came calling to the Irish capital. Dermot Curtis, the Bristol City centre forward opened the scoring halfway through the first half. Norwich City winger George Gavin added a second from the penalty spot just before half time. Aage Rou Jense grabbed a late goal for Denmark but it was not enough to deprive the Irish of full points.
In the following May the Irish team lined out in London at Wembley Stadium against England. In a disappointing performance the Irish found themselves 4-0 down by half time with Manchester United’s Tommy Taylor scoring a hat trick. Ireland scored a goal in the second half through another Dermot Curtis goal. England’s John Ateyo restored the four goal advantage just before the final whistle.
In the return match in Dalymount Park almost recorded a memorable win over the auld enemy. Alf Ringstead, who played for Sheffield United, grabbed an early lead for Ireland in the 4th minute. The Irish held on tenaciously to this slender lead for the remainder of the match until the last minute when Tom Finney crossed the ball for John Ateyo to head home for a last ditch equaliser. For the Irish it was a case of so near yet so far.
A year on from the first group match at home to Denmark, Ireland travelled to Copenhagen with little more than pride to play for. Two goals courtesy of Luton town’s George Cummins and Dermot Curtis gave Ireland a comfortable 0-2 win to finish two points behind England in 1958 World Cup qualifying group 1.
As group winner England qualified for the World Cup Finals in Sweden but shorn of a number of it’s Manchester United stars that were tragically killed in the Munich air disaster, England struggled to make an impact.
Irish World Cup 1958 Qualifying Campaign – Group Table
Republic of Ireland World Cup 1958 Qualifying Campaign – Match Results
Irish World Cup Qualifying Group Results
Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish World Cup Qualifying Campaigns
Irish European Championship Qualifying Group Results
Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish Euro Championship Finals Qualifying Campaigns