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Irish 1986 World Cup Qualifying Campaign
The Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in World Cup Group 6 that also included Denmark, Soviet Union, Switzerland, and Norway. The group winners and the runners-up would qualify automatically. Eoin Hand was the Republic of Ireland soccer manager for this campaign.
Early Irish World Cup Qualifier Optimism Evaporates
The 1986 World Cup qualification campaign for Ireland began with a home match at Lansdowne Road (now Aviva Stadium). The Irish soccer team got off to very satisfactory start in September 1984 with a 1-0 win and Mickey Walsh of Porto scored the winning goal in the 64th minute.
Following this optimistic beginning the Irish qualifying campaign was derailed in the next three matches by the twin Scandinavian challenge posed by Norway and Denmark. In the home and away matches against Norway Ireland failed to score, losing 1-0 in Oslo, and scraping a 0-0 draw at Lansdowne Road. In between these two matches the Ireland team was crushed 3-0 in Copenhagen by the emerging Danes.
Renewed Irish Hopes Fade Quickly
In June 1985 the Irish team restored a modicum of respectability with a comprehensive defeat of Switzerland in Dublin. First half goals by Frank Stapleton and Tony Grealish were added to by a Kevin Sheedy strike in the 57th minute. Following a scoreless draw in Berne in the return match the Republic lost 2-0 away to the Soviet Union in Moscow.
With nothing to play for when Denmark came to Lansdowne Road for the last Group 6 match of Ireland's 1986 World Cup qualifying campaign, a dispirited Irish team capitulated to the marauding Danes. Despite an early goal from Frank Stapleton the Danes went on to give the Republic of Ireland a soccer lesson. The Irish suffered their heaviest home defeat since May 1971 in the 1972 European Football Championship qualification match against Austria. This result signalled the end of Eoin Hand's tenure as manager of the Irish soccer team and presaged a new golden era for Irish football with Jack Charlton as manager of the Republic of Ireland.
Irish World Cup 1986 Qualifying Campaign - Group Table
Republic of Ireland World Cup 1986 Qualifying Campaign - 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