The playoff has always been an important point to consider before a major championship from an Irish perspective. Here, we take a look back at Ireland’s play-off history ahead of tonight’s massive clash with Bosnia….
Ireland V Spain World Cup 66′ Playoff
Ireland first played Spain at home in Dalymount where they ran out 1-0 winners before travelling to Spain where they managed to lose 4-1. Bizarrely, back then the game moved onto a third fixture which was played in Paris as a neautral venue where a brave and fantastic Irish team lost 1-0. Known as one of the darkest days in Irish football it would be another 20 years waiting for qualification for Irish fans.
Ireland V Netherlands Euro 96′ playoff
At this time the playoff was a single match at a neutral venue. So, Anfield the home of Liverpool Fc was chosen. An emotional night was had where the Netherlands completely outclassed Ireland 2-0. The game signaled the end of the Charlton era, the most successful to ever manage Ireland hung up his managerial paddy-cap for the last time.
Ireland V Belgium World Cup 98′ playoff
The new era of Irish football without Charlton was manned by Mick McCarthy. A Roy Keane-less Ireland welcomed Belgium to town for the first leg where they managed to draw 1-1. This put extreme importance on the second leg in Brussels where sadly as Ireland do so much we managed to lose by a single goal. Regardless this was good for a team in transition and under new management for the first time in years.
Ireland V Turkey Euro 00′ playoff
In typical Irish fashion, we were dealt a heartbreaking end to the campaign having missed out on automatic qualification through a last minute equaliser from Macedonia’s Stavrevski. This gave Ireland the chance to qualify yet again through the playoff system. The first leg In Dublin finished 1-1 with a goal for a young lad playing for Coventry city called Robbie Keane or something along those lines. Then the second leg was in a tense atmosphere in Bursa where Turkey held out for a 0-0 and went through on away goals.
Ireland V Iran World Cup 02′ playoff
After countless failed attempts at breaking through the playoff system it finally happened in Tehran after a wonderful campaign. This is a campaign that lives fondly in the memory of most Irish people. Ireland went into the playoff confident and this prevailed with a 2-1 win on aggregate over Iran. Roy Keane then lead the Irish team into the World Cup in South Korea/Japan, where well, you know what happened…
Ireland V France World cup 10′ playoff
I will just insert this clip as the less said the better.
Ireland V Estonia Euro 12′
In what was almost plain sailing Ireland toppled Estonia under Trap. This was a very joyous occasion as it was the first time in 10 years we had made it to a major competition. The 4-0 in Tallinn setup a party atmosphere in Dublin where a sold out Aviva stadium first felt as if it was a home to the soccer team.
Ireland V Bosnia and Herzegovina Euro 16′
A completely different team from the last time Ireland played in a playoff will face tough conditions in Zenica. They will have to play extremely well if they are to make it to Dublin next Monday with an away goal or a draw. But, having made it this far there is no reason why they cant pull off anymore surprises and make it to France next summer!