Irish 1982 World Cup Qualifying Campaign
For the 1982 qualification campaign the Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in World Cup Group 2 that also included Belgium, France, Netherlands, and Cyprus. The group winner and runner-up would automatically qualify for the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain. This was Eoin Hand’s first qualification campaign as manager of the Irish soccer team.
Positive Start to Ireland’s 1982 World Cup Qualifiers
The Irish soccer team got off to a very positive start to the 1982 World Cup qualification campaign with two victories. On 26 March 1980 Ireland beat Cyprus 2-3 in Nicosia. QPR player Paul McGee scored two of his four goals during his international career for Ireland. Mark Lawrenson of Liverpool FC scored the other goal for the Republic. Following this result John Giles resigned as Irish manager and Eoin Hand took up the reins.
In their opening home match the Irish hosted the Netherlands at Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium) in September. The Dutch took the lead in the 57th minute through Tahamata but the Irish struck back through Gerry Daly, of Derby County, and Mark Lawrenson (who qualified for Ireland under the Granny Rule). After two matches Ireland had maximum points. Eoin Hand’s reign as manager of the Republic of Ireland football team was off to a perfect start.
Ireland’s Attempts to Qualify for the 1982 World Cup Wobble
Next up was a home match with the Belgians in October 1980. Ireland got off to a poor start by conceding a 13th minute goal by Albert Cluytens. Although the Irish equalised through, Tony Grealish just before half time, they could not deliver another goal to secure victory.
This home draw with Belgium was followed up with a defeat to France in Paris. In a comprehensive performance the French comfortably beat the Irish team by two goals to nil. The great French soccer star, Michel Platini, scored the second goal in the 77th minute to kill off any hopes that the Republic might snatch a draw.
Disappointing finish to Irish World Cup Qualifying Campaign
With an emphatic 6-0 victory over Cyprus at Lansdowne Road the Irish enhanced their goal difference tally. Goals from Daly (2), Grealish, Robinson, Stapleton, and Hughton gave Ireland a comfortable two points.
Two away matches with Belgium and the Netherlands yielded just a single point (from a 2-2 draw in Rotterdam) thereby effectively ending any hopes that Ireland would qualify for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Even though the Irish beat France at Lansdowne Road, through a Mahut own goal and one each from Frank Stapleton and Michael Robinson, it was not enough for qualification.
Despite finishing level with France in the group on points the superior French goal difference saw them through to the World Cup Finals. The Irish had lost out on qualification by the narrowest margin possible.
Irish World Cup 1982 Qualifying Campaign – Group Table
Republic of Ireland World Cup 1982 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