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Irish Football > Republic of Ireland Qualifying Campaigns > 1998 World Cup

Irish 1998 World Cup Qualifying Campaign

The Republic of Ireland soccer team was drawn in World Cup Group 8 that also included Romania, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Mick McCarthy had been appointed manager of the Irish soccer in February 1996 as successor to Jack Charlton, who had been the most successful Irish manager ever. It was a hard act to follow and was made more difficult as the Irish team was old and battle weary. McCarthy had to find new Irish soccer talent and blood new players at international level.

1998 World Cup Qualifiers Begin

After a string of less-than-impressive friendly match results (won 1; drew 2; lost 5) Ireland kicked off it's 1998 World Cup campaign with an away qualifier in Eschen against Liechtenstein. This was the team that did so much damage to Ireland's Euro 1996 qualification campaign hopes when the Irish failed to beat these minnows of World soccer. There were no such difficulties this time around as the Irish ran out 0-5 winners with Niall Quinn bagging two goals. This was followed up by a 3-0 home win over Macedonia with stand-in striker Tony Cascarino scoring a brace in the second half. After two matches Ireland had maximum points, scored eight goals and conceded none. So far so good.

World Cup 1998 Qualification Banana Skins

After a promising start, for the Irish soccer team in the 1998 World Cup qualifying Group 8, the wheels came off somewhat in the next three fixtures. At Lansdowne Road (now the Aviva Stadium) Ireland tried valiantly but could not defeat Iceland and the match ended 0-0. In the return football match in Skopje, Macedonia beat Ireland 3-2. In a fractious match, against a team that had only ever beaten Liechtenstein and Cyprus in competitive soccer, the Irish conceded two first half penalties and a second half goal by Hristov. To add insult to injury Jason McAteer was sent off in injury team. This was followed up by a 1-0 away loss against table leaders Romania. Automatic qualification for the 1998 World Cup Finals by the Republic was off the table now.

Improved Finish to Ireland's 1998 World Cup Campaign

A first half hat trick by 19 year old David Connolly and another two goals by second half substitute, Tony Cascarino, gave Ireland a comfortable 5-0 home win over Liechtenstein. Following a disappointing 0-0 draw in Dublin, another goal by Connolly, two from Roy Keane, and a Finnbogason own goal, gave Ireland a 2-4 victory away in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik. Yet another brace of goals from 35 year old Tony Cascarino gave the Irish a 1-2 away win against Lithuania in Vilnius. With one more Group 8 match remaining this effectively secured a play-off spot for the Republic for qualification for the 1998 World Cup Finals. It would take 0-3 away win for Lithuania over Macedonia and for Romania to beat Ireland 0-10 at Lansdowne Road to deprive Ireland. The final match for Ireland was a home 1-1 draw with Romania in October 1997 with Irish veteran Cascarino claiming his seventh goal of the 1998 World Cup qualification campaign when he equalised in the 83rd minute. Romanian veteran Gheorge Hagi had put the visitors ahead in the 53rd minute. Romania finished Group 8 unbeaten and ten points ahead of second placed Ireland. Romania qualified automatically and the Republic went into the 1998 World Cup play-offs.

1998 World Cup Qualifier Play-off : Ireland V Belgium

Ireland was drawn to play Belgium in a two-legged play-off. The Irish were drawn at home first and despite an excellent start through an early Denis Irwin goal the Belgians grabbed a precious away goal in the 68th minute. The match finished 1-1 which left the Republic with an uphill task in the away leg.

Within 25 minutes of the start of the second leg the Irish were behind 2-1 on aggregate when Oliveira scored for the home team. Fourteen minutes into the second half and Ray Houghton struck for the Irish and the advantage of Belgium's away goal had been wiped away. The teams were all square with about twenty minutes to go when the Belgian goal scorer from the first leg, Nilis, popped up with the winning goal that saw Belgium through to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France and the Irish watching from the sidelines.

Irish World Cup 1998 Qualifying Campaign - Group Table

World Cup 1998 - Qualifying Group 8

Nation
Played
Won
Drew
Lost
Goals F
Goals A
Points
Romania
10
9
1
0
37
4
28
Ireland
10
5
3
2
22
8
18
Lithuania
10
5
2
3
11
8
17
FYR Macedonia
10
4
1
5
22
18
13
Iceland
10
2
3
5
11
16
9
Liechtenstein
10
0
0
10
3
52
0


Republic of Ireland World Cup 1998 Qualifying Campaign - Match Results

24/04/96: Skopje: FYR Macedonia 3-0 Liechtenstein

01/06/96: Reykjavik: Iceland 1-1 FYR Macedonia

31/08/96: Bucharest: Romania 3-0 Lithuania
31/08/96: Eschen: Liechtenstein 0-5 Ireland
Andy Townsend 5, Keith O'Neill 7, Niall Quinn 11, 61, Ian Harte 18

05/10/96: Vilnius: Lithuania 2-0 Iceland

09/10/96: Reykjavik: Iceland 0-4 Romania
09/10/96: Lansdowne Rd, Dublin: Ireland 3-0 FYR Macedonia
Jason McAteer 8, Tony Cascarino 46, 68

09/10/96: Vilnius: Lithuania 2-1 Liechtenstein

09/11/96: Eschen: Liechtenstein 1-11 FYR Macedonia

10/11/96: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 0-0 Iceland

14/12/96: Skopje: FYR Macedonia 0-3 Romania

29/03/97: Bucharest: Romania 8-0 Liechtenstein

02/04/97: Skopje: FYR Macedonia 3-2 Ireland
Stojkovski 28 Pen, 45 Pen, Hristov 59, / Alan McLoughlin 8, David Kelly 78
02/04/97: Vilnius: Lithuania 0-1 Romania

30/04/97: Eschen: Liechtenstein 0-2 Lithuania
30/04/97: Bucharest: Romania 1-0 Ireland

21/05/97: Lansdowne Rd, Dublin: Ireland 5-0 Liechtenstein
David Connolly 28, 34, 45, Tony Cascarino 59,77

07/06/97: Skopje: FYR Macedonia 1-0 Iceland

11/06/97: Reykjavik: Iceland 0-0 Lithuania

20/08/97: Eschen: Liechtenstein 0-4 Iceland
20/08/97: Bucharest: Romania 4-2 FYR Macedonia
20/08/97: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 0-0 Lithuania

06/09/97: Reykjavik: Iceland 2-4 Ireland
Gunnarsson 44, Sigurdsson 47 / David Connolly 13, Roy Keane 54, 64, Finnbogason 79og
06/09/97: Eschen: Liechtenstein 1-8 Romania
06/09/97: Vilnius: Lithuania 2-0 FYR Macedonia

10/09/97: Bucharest: Romania 4-0 Iceland
10/09/97: Vilnius: Lithuania 1-2 Ireland
Ziukas 52 / Tony Cascarino 18, 71

11/10/97: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 1-1 Romania

Tony Cascarino 83 / Hagi 53
11/10/97: Reykjavik: Iceland 4-0 Liechtenstein
11/10/97: Skopje: FYR Macedonia 1-2 Lithuania

1998 World Cup Play-off Matches
29/10/97: Lansdowne Road, Dublin: Ireland 1–1 Belgium
Denis Irwin 7
/ Nilis 69
15/11/97: Brussels: Belgium 2–1 Republic of Ireland
Oliveira 25, Nilis 69 / Ray Houghton 58



Irish World Cup Qualifying Group Results

Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish World Cup Qualifying Campaigns

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Number of Appearances and Goals Scored in Irish Euro Championship Finals Qualifying Campaigns


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