Coach: Martin O’Neill
Colours: Green shirts, white shorts, green socks
v Sweden (13 June, Saint-Denis)
v Belgium (18 June, Bordeaux)
v Italy (22 June, Lille)
Group Stage (1988, 2012)
Ireland’s qualification to Euro 1988 marked their first appearance at a major international tournament. Jack Charlton led his side to a 1-0 victory over arch-rivals England, with Ray Houghton grabbing the early header. Next up were the Soviet Union, where the Republic could only manage a 1-1 draw. The Irish’s final group game came against the Netherlands, where they were eliminated from the tournament after the Dutch claimed the vital points late on to condemn Charlton’s men.
In 2012, Ireland qualified for the finals, this time under the stewardship of Giovanni Trapattoni. However, the Italian couldn’t produce a moment of magic, with the opening game against Croatia ending in a 3-1 defeat. It was to get worse for the Green Army when Spain comfortably recorded a 4-0 victory, with the tournament coming to a disappointing close and ultimately an early flight home after a 2-0 loss to Trappatoni’s home nation, Italy.
How They Got There
The Republic were drawn in Group D of the qualifying rounds for Euro 2016 alongside Germany, Poland, Scotland, Georgia and Gibraltar. The qualifying campaign began in 2014 with home and away matches being played against the other five nations, and Robbie Keane again was an important player through the two years of matches, scoring five goals in the process.
O’Neill’s men managed five victories, three draws and two defeats, finishing the campaign in third spot behind Germany and Poland. As a result, the Irish had to make do with a two-legged chance in the play-offs for a spot in the tournament, where they were drawn against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jonathan Walters scored a brace in the second leg to dramatically clinch a 3-1 aggregate win for a place in France at Euro 2016.
v Poland 3-1 (h), 0-2 (a)
v Republic of Ireland 1-1 (h), 0-1 (a)
v Scotland 2-1 (h), 3-2 (a)
v Georgia 2-1 (h), 2-0 (a)
v Gibraltar 4-0 (h), 7-0 (a)
Ireland boasts an experienced squad and will hope to have veteran captain Robbie Keane provide much-needed leadership. The midfield duo of James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan will govern a strong Irish presence in the center of the pitch, while Jon Walters must continue his goalscoring form from the qualifying rounds if the Republic are to advance past the group stage.
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Stoke), Darren Randolph (West Ham), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Derby), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Richard Keogh (Derby), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Shane Duffy (Blackburn), Stephen Ward (Burnley)
Midfielders: Robbie Brady (Norwich), Aiden McGeady (Everton), James McClean (West Brom), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), David Meyler (Hull), Stephen Quinn (Reading), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich)
Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Jon Walters (Stoke), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich)