Ireland v the World

Ireland take on the reigning World Champions tonight in Landsdowne Road, so we decided to take a look back at our record in games against the then World Champions over the years!

Since first facing the holders in their four year stint as the world’s best when we played West Germany in 1955 (they beat Hungary 3-2 in the final the previous year), Irish teams have played nine different champions, including the last four in a row, in twelve international fixtures. Here’s how they went.

1955West Germany 2- 1 Ireland (Friendly) – A game defeat against the reigning champions albeit a new look German side as Sepp Herberger looked rested most of his big names. Sean Fallon grabbed the Irish goal.

1956 – Ireland 3-0 West Germany (Friendly) – Three second half goals gave the champions a real bloody nose. Several of the World Cup winning side appeared in the November friendly as three goals in the last half an hour won it for Ireland.

1974 – Brazil 2-1 Ireland (Friendly) – A pre-World Cup warm-up for the Brazilians who although being a far cry from their glorious swaggering greatness of four years previous, still had enough quality to take victory in the Maracana.

1980 – Ireland 0-1 Argentina (Friendly) – The South American giants rolled into town with wonderkid Diego Maradona in tow(below). Although not included in the Argentine squad  1978, Maradona was gaining a reputation as a world star even at 19 years of age. The champions proved too strong once again.


1985 – Ireland 1-2 Italy (Friendly) – Forty thousand popped along to Dalymount Park to see the Italians take an early two goal lead through Paolo Rossi and Alessandro Altobelli before Gary Waddock pulled one back for the men in Green.

1994 – Germany 0-2 Ireland (Friendly) – On the verge of the 1994 World Cup Ireland played their final warm up game against the reigning champions and pulled off a never to be forgotten win with goals from Tony Cascarino and Gary Kelly. Heady times indeed.

2004 – Ireland 0-0 Brazil (Friendly) – Kaka, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Ronaldo et al rolled into town for this friendly in February ’04 but failed to bring any goals with them as the sides played out a goalless stalemate.

2009 – Italy 1-1 Ireland (2010 WC Qualifiers) – A combination of Robbie Keane and Noel Hunt gave Ireland a great point against the holders in Bari. The Italians had played with 10 men for most of the game but the draw was still a credible result for Trappatoni’s men.

2009 – Ireland 2-2 Italy (2010 WC Qualifiers) – A magical night in Croke Park as Ireland twice took the lead but could not hold in a belter of a game. Camoranesi and Gilardino were the Italian heroes as they grabbed qualification to South Africa. Ireland were left with what-might-have-beens and a little remembered play-off with France….

2012 – Ireland 0-4 Spain (2012 Euro Championships) – The reigning European and World champions were at their imperious best as they swept aside Ireland. It was all too easy for the eventual winners.

2013 – Ireland 0-2 Spain (Friendly) – A summer sojourn in New York saw Ireland fall to goals from Soldado and Mata. It was the start of a poor run of results for the Irish team with four defeats in five games.

2014 – Germany 1-1 Ireland (2016 EC Qualifiers) – John O’Shea’s last minute goal helped Ireland beat the World Champions 1-1 in Gelsenkirchen. It was a throwback Irish effort and more of the same would be VERY welcome tonight! #COYBIG

Get your Irish Football Training Range now at Elverys Intersport online and in store and roar the team on to France in 2016!


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