Irish 2002 World Cup Qualifying Campaign
The Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in World Cup Group 2 that also included Portugal, Holland, Estonia, Cyprus and Andorra. In his third qualifying campaign as Republic of Ireland soccer team manager, Mick McCarthy, finally succeeded in leading the Irish to a major championship finals tournament. Qualifying from World Cup Group 2 was hugely impressive as the group contained both soccer powers – Portugal and the Netherlands.
Ireland Takes Points Away to Portugal & the Netherlands
In the two previous campaigns Ireland had lost out in the play-offs to both Belgium and Turkey. Before a football had been kicked in Group 2 it looked as though a play-off position was the best the team could aspire to. However after the first two matches Ireland had taken points from the Dutch and the Portuguese in two away scoring draws. In fact the away draw in the Netherlands was a disappointment as the Irish had held a two goal lead with just twenty minutes remaining.
Jason McAteer Scores Winner Against Holland
The crunch match in this World Cup qualifying campaign came in the second last match at Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium) to the Dutch. A win would assure the Republic of Ireland a play-off place at the very least. In an inspiring performance Roy Keane drove the Irish to a fantastic victory with Jason McAteer scoring the deciding goal in the 68th minute.
Despite beating the Cypriots 4-0 in the final match the Irish team could not overhaul the superior goal difference of the the Portuguese who scored 15 goals in their last three group matches. Ireland finished second in the group on goal difference thus qualifying to play Iran in a two-legged World Cup play-off.
Irish Play-off Ecstasy in Iran
Following a 2-0 win at Lansdowne Road in Dublin the Irish travelled to Tehran for the return match with some optimism. However this optimism was dampened somewhat when Roy Keane withdrew from the squad through injury. Despite a late scrappy goal by the Iranians the Republic of Ireland team held out to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and South Korea winning 2-1 over the two legs.
Irish World Cup 2002 Qualifying Campaign – Group Table
Republic of Ireland World Cup 2002 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