February 3, 2023

Irish 1978 World Cup Qualifying Campaign

For the 1978 World Cup qualifying campaign the Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in Group 5 that also included France and Bulgaria. The team to top the group would qualify for the finals in Argentina. Former Leeds United football great, John Giles, was the Irish International Soccer Manager for this campaign having replaced Liam Tuohy.

In such a small group there was no room for any slip ups but unfortunately the Irish got their qualifying group matches off to a bad start in November 1976 with an away defeat to France. Goals from Michel Platini and Dominique Bathenay were enough to give the French a comfortable victory.

In the following March the Republic avenged this defeat when a Liam Brady goal in the 11th minute was enough to secure two points for Ireland at home. It now came down to how Ireland would perform against the Bulgarians.

The French had already earned a draw in Sofia so if the Irish could beat Bulgaria twice they would be heading off to the finals of major international soccer tournament for the first time ever.

Unfortunately for Ireland it was not to be. Despite a Don Givens second half goal in Sofia, Bulgaria ran out 2-1 winners in June 1977. The return home match in the following October ended up in a disappointing 0-0 draw at Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium). Ireland finished up in third place in a three team qualifying group having scored just two goals in four matches.

In November 1977 the French qualified for the 1978 World Cup Finals when they beat Bulgaria 3-1 in Paris.

Irish World Cup 1978 Qualifying Campaign – Group Table

World Cup 1978 – Qualifying Group 5

Nation
Played
Won
Drew
Lost
Goals F
Goals A
Points
France
4
2
1
1
7
4
5
Bulgaria
4
1
2
1
5
6
4
Ireland
4
1
1
2
2
4
3

Republic of Ireland World Cup 1978 Qualifying Campaign – Match Results

09/10/76: Sofia: Bulgaria 2-2 France

17/11/76: Paris: France 2-0 Ireland
Platini 47, Bathenay 88

30/03/77: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 1-0 France
Liam Brady 11

01/06/77: Sofia: Bulgaria 2-1 Ireland
Panov 14, Zhelazkov 76 / Don Givens 47

12/10/77: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 0-0 Bulgaria

16/11/77: Paris: France 3-1 Bulgaria

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
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World Cup 2010 Qualification
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World Cup 2018 Qualifiers

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

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1966 World Cup Appearances
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Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish Euro Championship Finals Qualifying Campaigns

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