Monday 18 December 2017

Will Ireland against Latvia be the most important ever friendly? We look at the other contenders

The Martin O'Neill-Roy Keane era begins tonight turning a mundane-looking friendly into a must-see event but is it one of the most important friendlies in the history of Irish soccer? We look at five other pivotal friendly encounters.

Ireland 1 England 0, February 15, 1995(match abandoned after 27 minutes)

A friendly game that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

There had been tension in the streets of Dublin after a game between the sides five years earlier at a European Championships qualifier but this was much uglier.

Honest England fans were excited leading up to the game because the mercurial Matt le Tissier was finally getting a start but a section of their support were hell-bent on destruction.

After Ireland had opened the scoring through David Kelly after 21 minutes and England had a goal disallowed, there was pandemonium as a section of England fans in the west stand began firing debris on supporters below.

20 people were injured in the disturbances and 40 were arrested on a black night for soccer.


Ireland 1 England 1, May 29, 2013

A game which finally but 1995 Lansdowne Road drama to bed.

Despite coming up against a star-studded team, Ireland performed admirably in a game which was of more political than sporting significance.

Shane Long gave Ireland a 1-0 lead with a tremendous header from a Seamus Coleman cross but it was cancelled out by a Frank Lampard strike before the break.

It was arguably Giovanni Trapattoni's best results against one of the bigger teams in world football.


Ireland 3 Sweden 0, March 1, 2006

It was Steve Staunton's first game in charge, he backed up his infamous "gaffer" speech with a fine victory over Sweden ar Landsdowne Road.

The country was buzzing after the result and we were fully behind the man who had th most caps for his country at the time.

Things would go belly-up afterwards but it was memorable night for Stan and Liam Miller who scored a spectacular goal to go with strikes from Damien Duff and Robbie Keane.


Ireland 1 Brazil 0, May 23, 1987

Any time you defeat the masters of the beautiful game is a good day and Saturday May 23, 1987 was a good day.

The game marked a high point in the career of one of our most celebrated footballers Liam Brady who bamboozled the Brazilian defence to score the only goal of the game to send Lansdowe Road into raptures.

Dunga, who would go on to captain Brazil to victory at the 1994 World Cup, was so angry and frustrated at the result that he would not swap his jersey after the game.

The tie also marked the international debut of the great Romario and one of the most enjoyable victories from the early days of the Charlton era.


England 0 Ireland 2, September 21, 1949

Defeating England at Goodsion Park in 1949 gives us the great pleasure of being the first foreign side to beat England on English soil.

Four years later the great Hungarian side spearheaded by Ferenc Puskas would also topple the Three Lions.

Goals from Peter Desmond and Con Martin gave Ireland their famous win on Merseyside and an enviable record to enjoy.


Have we missed any pivotal friendly encounters? Leave suggestions in the comments section below

@edowl53 has suggested  this friendly via twitter


Goals from Tony Cascarine and Gary Kelly's defelcted effort gave Ireland a 2-0 win over Germany in Hannover prior ro the 1994 World Cup

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