Republic of Ireland will face Sweden in their first match of Euro 2016 © Getty Images
Republic of Ireland will face Sweden in their first match of Euro 2016 © Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland team made their debut at the 1924 Summer Olympics when they reached the quarter-finals. They have been drawn in Group E for the final stages of the UEFA Euro Cup 2016. Ireland will be competing in a tough group alongside teams like Italy, Belgium and Sweden. Their chances of progressing look really dim, but anything is possible in football. They did well in the qualifying stages of the tournament, winning 5 games out of 10 and losing just 2. The best moment for them was when they beat Germany 1-0 at home in the qualifiers as Shane Long scored the only goal of the game.

Before 1988, Ireland missed out on qualification to the Euro Cup. Jack Charlton was made the manager of the Irish team in 1986. And, the most memorable moment from Republic of Ireland’s history was when they caused a massive upset in the Group Stage of Euro 1988 by beating favourites England 1-0. Packie Bonner, the Irish goalkeeper had made some brilliant saves to keep a clean sheet. Roy Keane, the former Manchester United legend is among the best Irish player of all times. He won 19 major trophies in his career. Robbie Keane is also among one of the famous Irish players who is also the leading all-time scorer for Ireland. Just for the record, Ireland lost all three of their games at UEFA Euro 2012.

Current form: The Irish team won 5 games out 10 and lost just 2 games in the qualifiers of the UEFA Euro 2016. Their win over Germany will give them a lot of confidence heading into the final stages of the Euro. They will nonetheless have to be at their best, as they have difficult opponents lined up in their Group. They might as well want more than just to cause an upset. Ireland will also be competing against Netherlands and Belarus in friendlies prior to the Euro 2016. They won their first friendly against Switzerland with a score of 1-0. The next friendly was a 2-2 draw against Slovakia.

Players to watch out for: Ireland have named a 35-man strong squad for the pre-tournament friendly games left against the Dutch and Belarus. Callum O’Dowda, the 21-year old could well make his mark after he was picked up in the squad prior to the Euro 2016. Shane Long, the Player of the season for Southampton FC in the Premier League Season 2015-16 will be watched closely by the Irish supporters. Although, all eyes will be on Robbie Keane, their all-time highest goalscorer.

Schedule:  

Date Match Venue
13 June 2016 Republic of Ireland vs Sweden Stade de France – Saint-Denis
18 June 2016 Belgium vs Republic of Ireland Stade de Bordeaux – Bordeaux
22 June 2016 Italy vs Republic of Ireland Stade Pierre Mauroy – Lille Métropole

 

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Stoke), Darren Randolph (West Ham), David Forde (Millwall), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday).

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Derby), Paul McShane (Reading), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Richard Keogh (Derby), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Bristol City), Shane Duffy (Blackburn), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Stephen Ward (Burnley).

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sheffield Wednesday), James McClean (West Brom), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), David Meyler (Hull City), Stephen Quinn (Reading), Darron Gibson (Everton), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff), Robbie Brady (Norwich), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen), Callum O’Dowda (Oxford).

Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), David McGoldrick (Ipswich), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich)

Coach/Manager: Martin O’Neill