Best EURO performance: final tournament 1988
Coach: Giovanni Trapattoni
Leading scorer: all-time – Robbie Keane (53); current – Robbie Keane (53)
Most appearances: all-time – Shay Given (120); current – Shay Given (120)
Association formed: 1921
Nickname: The Boys in Green
When Giovanni Trapattoni took the reins in summer 2008, he assumed control of a side that had not graced a UEFA European Championship in two decades. Their UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying campaign had brought just four wins in 12 outings – including two against San Marino – as Ireland finished well adrift of the Czech Republic and Germany; 'Trap' made an instant impression. He took Ireland to the brink of the 2010 FIFA World Cup before William Gallas's extra-time goal sent France through at their expense. After finishing behind Russia, a 4-0 first-leg victory over Estonia ensured there was no play-off woe this time.
UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying
Group B: runners-up
Play-offs: Estonia 0-4, 1-1 Republic of Ireland (1-5 agg)
Leading scorer: Robbie Keane (7)
Ever-presents: Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady (12)
Ireland suffered only one defeat – a 3-2 loss to eventual section winners Russia in their third qualifier – and performed consistently throughout, also picking up some creditable friendly results including a 2-0 win against Trapattoni's native Italy in June. Shay Given and Robbie Keane both enjoyed campaigns to remember, the former – Ireland's most-capped player – making his 120th international appearance in the play-off second leg against Estonia while Keane's double in the Tallinn opener took him on to 53 goals for his country. The striker had brought up his half-century in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with another two goals on 4 June.
Trapattoni's side also established a new national record for consecutive clean sheets; between the 3-2 friendly defeat at home by Uruguay in March and the 2-1 win at home to Armenia in the final group game, Ireland went eight matches without conceding and are unbeaten in 14 matches. "Ireland picked [this coaching team] to get results and now we've given them the perfect answer – and the players have too," said Trapattoni, who has suffered just two competitive defeats since taking over in May 2008.
Ireland qualified for their only previous UEFA European Championship in 1988, opening their campaign with a famous 1-0 win against England thanks to Ray Houghton's early header. Jack Charlton's side were only edged out for a semi-final place in West Germany by eventual champions the Netherlands.
Ireland narrowly missed out on the final tournament in 1992, 1996 and 2000, losing in play-offs to the Netherlands and Turkey in those last two attempts. Recent years have proved leaner, however, Ireland finishing in third place in their qualifying groups for both 2004 and 2008 – ending the latter campaign 12 points behind section winners the Czech Republic and ten adrift of Germany.
UEFA EURO 2012 Group C fixtures
Sunday 10 June: Republic of Ireland v Croatia, 20.45CET, Poznan
Thursday 14 June: Spain v Republic of Ireland, 20.45CET, Gdansk
Monday 18 June: Italy v Republic of Ireland, 20.45CET, Poznan
Team EURO records
Overall: P112 W45 D33 L34 F163 A130
Final tournament: P3 W1 D1 L1 F2 A2
Qualifying: P109 W44 D32 L33 F161 A128
Click here for extensive list of records
Last updated 5 June 2012
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