The Irish will be in the party mood at Euro 2016 as they have reached their 2nd consecutive European Championships, however they did it the hard way. After finishing third in Qualifying Group D, Ireland were then drawn against Bosnia & Herzegovina in a game that would decide who reached the Euro 2016 finals, Ireland went on to polish them off 3-1 on aggregate and the Irish fans could ready their travel plans.
This team is made up mainly of squad players from the English Premier League and is without a star player to speak of, but Ireland have surpassed expectations with this limited squad. The 3rd place finish in Group D was impressive as it included 2 standout performances against the reigning world champions Germany. A 1-1 draw in Gelsenkirchen was then followed by a vital 1-0 win in Dublin which was the major factor in their 3rd place finish.
This not only shows they are capable of good performances, but they can also cause big teams problems when it really matters, which may be crucial in the group stages of Euro 2016. A major figure in these results has to be the manager Martin O'Neill who took the job back in November 2013 and has led his team to 5 wins and 3 draws and will be hoping to transfer that kind of form into Euro 2016.
None at all. The Irish fans can party throughout the tournament as I'm sure they will, but for most of proceedings, unfortunately their team will not be competing as a swift exit is surely on the cards for this side. They have been drawn in a group that includes 2 teams ranked higher than themselves in Italy and Belgium, both being in the first 6 of the outright betting to win the tournament.
This looks ominous for a side that could only scrape through the qualifying stages, but the manager Martin O'Neill seems to have instilled a gritty team work ethic into his side and they have been a hard team to beat recently, which could translate into the main tournament. However, this quality may not mean much as even 4 draws in France might not see them progress from Group E.
|Belgium / Netherlands||2000||Did not qualify||-|
|Portugal||2004||Did not qualify||-|
|Austria / Switzerland||2008||Did not qualify||-|
|Poland / Ukraine||2012||Group Stage||16|
This is only the 3rd time Republic of Ireland have qualified for the European Championships, with a group stage exit in 1988 and 2012.
|3||Rep of Ireland||3||1||1||1||2||4||4|
|13.06.16||17.00||Rep of Ireland||1 - 1||Sweden|
|13.06.16||20.00||Belgium||0 - 2||Italy|
|17.06.16||14.00||Italy||1 - 0||Sweden|
|18.06.16||14.00||Belgium||3 - 0||Rep of Ireland|
|22.06.16||20.00||Italy||0 - 1||Rep of Ireland|
|22.06.16||20.00||Sweden||0 - 1||Belgium|
Ireland may well be playing for a 'Best Loser' place in the group stages of Euro 2016. They have two big teams to compete with in the shape of Belgium and Italy and it is widely expected that these two sides will fill the first 2 positions. The best chance of points for Republic of Ireland is in the game against Sweden. Both sides look evenly matched, and a draw may be on the cards, but 1 point in this fixture will most likely not suit either of the sides and Ireland should be going all out to get the win. If they could overpower the Swedes, they may stand a chance of qualifying as one of the highest ranking third place finishers, which would probably be an over achievement for this side.
Here's a list of the 4 teams drawn in Group E and their FIFA World Ranking, as you can see, Belgium are by far the highest ranked team, with Italy weighing in second and Republic of Ireland trailing in third.
Robbie Keane and Jonathan Walters both bagged themselves 5 goals during qualifying, with Shane Long grabbing 3. Republic of Ireland will need their midfield players to step up during Euro 2016 and carry their goalscoring achievements from qualifying into the finals. With chances hard to come by, every single player will need to make their opportunities count.
Ireland most probably know their fate before they even touch down in France. They have been drawn in such a competitive group where even a point will be hard to come by. Their best chance of reaching the last 16 would be to beaten Sweden and cross their fingers that they go through as a top 3rd place finisher. This may not be totally out of the realms of possibility but the Sweden game is most likely to end in a draw meaning both sides will finish on a single point and exit the competition in the group stages.
The biggest asset in the Ireland squad is Shane Long. His finishing ability has been on show all season for his club side Southampton but his best quality is definitely his speed. Long likes to play on the shoulder of the opposing centre backs and make darting runs behind to make room for his midfield and wide men, this will be crucial for the Irish as they will need someone to make things happen but also his speed will allow Ireland to play long balls for him to chase down when they are under pressure.
This Irish side are built on physicality. They have a very tall squad and usually depend on set pieces for their goals which will be a challenge to deal with for the smaller, possession based sides at Euro 2016.
Ireland biggest asset is their defence. They conceded only 7 goals in 10 games during qualifying and they will be heavily reliant on their back line for most of the tournament in France. Possession football is not really this teams forte and they usually rely on sitting back and breaking on their opposition to get further up the pitch, but Ireland will be a hard team to beat and may scrape some points if they can convert from dead ball positions.