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2004 European Football Championship - Irish Qualifiers
In qualifier Group 10 for the 2004 European Football Championship the Republic of Ireland were drawn with Switzerland, Russia, Albania and Georgia. The group's top team would gain automatic qualification to the Euro 2004 Finals in Portugal. The top ten second placed teams were entered into a play-off on a home and away basis.
Poor Start to the Irish Euro 2004 Qualifiers
Brian Kerr was the latest in the line of Republic of Ireland Soccer managers to try his hand at qualifying the Irish football team for a major championships. Taking control of the team after Ireland had lost its' first two matches in Group 10 under previous manager Mick McCarthy, Kerr was fighting an uphill struggle. An away 4-2 defeat to Russia, followed by a tame home 1-2 defeat to Switzerland at Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium), left the Republic of Ireland rooted to the bottom of Euro 2004 qualifying Group 10.
Kerr Improves Euro 2004 Qualification Campaign Results
In his first match in charge Kerr managed the Irish team to a 1-2 away win in a tricky tie against Georgia in Tbilisi. Damien Duff and Gary Doherty scored a goal in either half to secure the victory. Four days later a lethargic Irish team earned a 0-0 draw in Tirana against a tenacious Albanian team.
In the return matches at Lansdowne Road Ireland beat Albania and Georgia 2-1 and 2-0 respectively. In the first match Robbie Keane scored after just six minutes to give Ireland the lead only to concede an equaliser just two minutes later. Ireland played the remainder of the match chasing an extremely elusive winner. It wasn't until the 92nd minute when the unlucky Aliaj scored an own goal.
After this unconvincing victory the Irish beat Georgia more easily four days later. Gary Doherty and Robbie Keane scored a goal on either side of half time to earn a 2-0 win. The Irish soccer team was now second in the Group 10 qualifying table and victories over Russia and Switzerland in the last two matches would guarantee Irish participation in the 2004 Euro Finals.
Disappointing Climax to 2004 Euro Qualifiers
Having moved into a position of contention Ireland bowed out of qualification somewhat tamely with a 1-1 home draw with Russia and a 2-0 loss to the Swiss in Basel.
After taking the lead at Lansdowne Road through Damien Duff in the 35th minute Ireland let Russia back into the match just seven minutes later.
Try as they might the Irish players could not achieve the victory. This disappointing result was outdone in the following month when the Republic capitulated to a less than outstanding Switzerland side.
The Republic of Ireland
finished a poor third in Euro 2004 qualifying Group 10 taking just one
point from the top two teams and failing to take maximum points from the
two teams below them in the group table.
Euro 2004 Qualifiers Campaign - Group Table
Republic of Ireland Euro 2004 Qualifiers - Match Results
Irish World Cup Qualifying Group Results
Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish World Cup Qualifying Campaigns
Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish Euro Championship Finals Qualifying Campaigns