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Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland
Ireland's Ray Houghton and Kevin Moran celebrate victory against England in 1988 ©Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Republic of Ireland

Best result: group stage 1988, 2012
Coach: Martin O'Neill
Leading scorer: 
all-time – Robbie Keane (62); current – Robbie Keane (62)
Most appearances: all-time – Robbie Keane (131); current – Robbie Keane (131)
Association formed: 1921
Nickname: Boys in Green
Where they play: Dublin Arena

The Republic of Ireland made their major tournament debut in 1988, memorably beating England and only just failing to pip eventual winners the Netherlands to the last four. Englishman Jack Charlton also steered them to the next two FIFA World Cups, the first of them, in Italy, bringing a place in the quarter-finals. A third World Cup was reached in 2002 but Ireland did not return to the UEFA European Championship until 2012, when Giovanni Trapattoni's side lost all three matches in a tough group.

EURO predigree
Matches played
P115 W45 D33 L37 F164 A139
Final tournament: P6 W1 D1 L4 F3 A11
Qualifying: P109 W44 D32 L33 F161 A128

Ireland qualified for their first major tournament in the 1988 UEFA European Championship, opening their campaign with a famous 1-0 win against England thanks to Ray Houghton's early header. They then held the Soviet Union 1-1 and Charlton's side were only edged out for a semi-final place in West Germany by an 82nd-minute goal for the Netherlands.

Ireland narrowly missed out on the final tournament in 1992 and lost play-offs to the Netherlands and Turkey in 1996 and 2000 respectively. They finished  third in their qualifying groups for both 2004 and 2008 but made the 2012 finals; beaten to an automatic place by Russia, they defeated Estonia in the play-offs. They had performed consistently throughout, at one point going eight matches (friendlies included) without conceding, establishing a new national record. Trapattoni's side arrived in Poland and Ukraine 14 games unbeaten, but that was soon forgotten as they lost 3-1 to Croatia, 4-0 to Spain and 2-0 to Italy.

Memorable EURO matches
11/11/2011: Estonia 0-4 Republic of Ireland, UEFA EURO 2012 play-offs

Trapattoni's side took a big step towards the finals with a commanding first-leg display.

12/06/1988: England 0-1 Republic of Ireland, 1988 UEFA European Championship group stage
Houghton's header ensured victory on Ireland's debut at a major tournament.

30/10/1974: Republic of Ireland 3-0 Soviet Union, 1976 UEFA European Championship qualifying
A Don Givens hat-trick at Dublin's Dalymount Park gave the Irish a memorable triumph.

Did you know?
Ireland made the two-legged 1964 quarter-finals but were beaten 7-1 on aggregate by Spain, who were to host and win the four-team finals.

*Last updated on 07/01/14

Last updated: 28/01/14 19.01CET

Club record in UEFA competitions

  • Biggest win:
    16/11/1983, Republic of Ireland 8-0 Malta, Dublin
  • Biggest defeat:
    10/10/1971, Austria 6-0 Republic of Ireland, Linz
  • Appearances in UEFA European Football Championship: 15
  • Player with most appearances: 49
    Robbie Keane (IRL)
  • Top scorers: 23
    Robbie Keane (IRL)