Ireland v France: Five previous battles

The 2009 World Cup playoff endures most but Ireland have some positive results from the annals to be inspired by
Ireland v France: Five previous battles

INFAMOUS: Thierry Henry of France handles the ball in the build up to his sides goal in 2009. Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

History between Ireland and France is long and storied, initially in World Cup combat but the Euros in more recent years. The 2009 World Cup playoff endures most but Ireland have some positive results from the annals to be inspired by.

March 30, 1977: Ireland 1 France 0 (Lansdowne Road)

Revenge for an unlucky defeat in Paris was delivered by Liam Brady’s stunning solo goal, Garryowen-style chipping a pass to himself through a static defence before using that delightful left foot of his to caress the ball under the advancing goalkeeper. Sadly, it was Ireland’s only win of four group games and it was France who ventured to Argentina for the World Cup.

October 14, 1981: Ireland 3 France 2 (Lansdowne Road)

Another rousing day at Dublin 4 ended in similar disappointment for Michel Platini as three first-half goals, Philippe Mahut’s own-goal followed by efforts by strikers Frank Stapleton and the late Michael Robinson sent Les Bleus packing. At the end of a campaign that also saw Ireland beat the Netherlands, goal difference was decisive in sending France to the Spain-hosted World Cup ahead of the Irish.

October 9, 2004: France 0 Ireland 0 (Stade de France)

Brian Kerr’s first and only full campaign at the helm had begun with a win over Cyprus and draw away to Switzerland before they travelled to Paris. Chances fell for both teams but John O’Shea’s miss, whistling a half-volley past the post much to the relief of Manchester United colleague Fabien Barthez, was the one Ireland rued as they came up short again in World Cup qualification.

November 14, 2009: France 1 Ireland 1 (Stade de France)

A superb team move completed by Robbie Keane’s sidefooted finish brought Ireland level on aggregate but a controversial decision in extra-time – when Thierry Henry cleared handled the ball twice before squaring to William Gallas to bundle home – still rankles today. The Hand of Frog will be forever attached to Henry's name, in the eyes of Irish fans.

June 26, 2016: France 2 Ireland 1 (Lyon)

Under a blistering sun at Euro 2016, Ireland stunned the home crowd by speeding ahead from Robbie Brady’s early penalty. Heading out of the tournament, the hosts introduced Kingsley Coman for the second half and he was instrumental in enabling Antoine Griezmann to bag a brace. Shane Duffy’s red card soon after the second melted Ireland’s chances.

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