Dublin: 18°C Monday 18 October 2021

7 of Ireland's most perfect days on home soil

The defeat of Holland in 2001 and other memorable occasions for the Boys in Green.

1. Ireland 3-2 France 14 October, 1981

Source: sp1873/YouTube

GOALS FROM FRANK Stapleton and Michael Robinson, as well as an own goal by Philippe Mahut, ensured a famous Irish win against a French side that had Michel Platini within their ranks and who would win the European Championships three years later. The victory was in vain, however, as France ultimately qualified for the 1982 World Cup at the expense of Ireland on goal difference.

2. Ireland 1-0 Brazil 23 May, 1987

Source: sp1873/YouTube

Granted, it was a friendly, but this remains a significant result in Irish footballing history. Liam Brady’s classy strike earned the team a famous victory and built morale considerably in the early days of the Charlton era.

3. Ireland 1-0 Spain 26 April, 1989

Source: Chimpanzeethat/YouTube

An own goal from Michel earned Ireland a terrific victory against Spain and put the side on the verge of qualifying for Italia 90. In terms of significance, it’s up there with the most important wins in the team’s history, and the goal was the Charlton era in microcosm, as the intense pressure applied from a powerful Packie Bonner clearance subsequently paid dividends.

4. Ireland 2-0 Croatia – 5 September 1998

Source: sp1873/YouTube

Croatia may not be as high-profile as some of the teams on the list, however this win was similarly impressive to all the other results. It was a Croatia team that had just finished third at the 1998 World Cup and featured the legendary Zvonimir Boban. However, they were brought down to Earth in Dublin, following early goals by Denis Irwin and Roy Keane.


Get closer to the stories that matter with exclusive analysis, insight and debate in The42 Membership.

Become a Member

5. Ireland 1-0 Netherlands – 1 September, 2001

Source: PeteTop Carton/YouTube

Who could forget Roy Keane’s tackle, Jason McAteer’s classy finish and Louis van Gaal effectively playing a four-man strike force at the end?

6. Ireland 1-0 Germany – 8 October, 2015

Source: ShivDes357/YouTube

Not exactly a distant memory, but certainly a result that’s on a par with any of the others mentioned here. It’s not every day Ireland beat the reigning world champions.

7. Ireland 2-0 Bosnia – 14 November, 2015

Source: 24hNews highlights/YouTube

And this list would not be complete without last night’s excellent result — Ireland succeeded where so often they have failed in recent years, navigating the final hurdle with a level of conviction and composure that bodes well for their future.

‘Win the game’ – Darren Randolph on Martin O’Neill’s pre-match team talk>

Here’s how tonight’s remaining playoff games will impact Ireland’s Euro 2016 group>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

Read next: