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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland
David Healy receives an award in recognition of his 13 goals in UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying ©Sportsfile

Northern Ireland

Best result: never qualified
Coach: Michael O'Neill
Leading scorers: all-time – David Healy (36); current – Kyle Lafferty (9)
Most appearances: all-time – Pat Jennings (119); current – Aaron Hughes (88)
Association formed: 1880
Nickname: Norn Iron
Where they play: Windsor Park, Belfast

Despite some memorable wins, Northern Ireland have never sent a team to the finals of the competition, coming closest in the 1984 qualifying series when they beat holders West Germany home and away. In contrast there have been three appearances at the FIFA World Cup, the first in 1958 resulting in a quarter-final appearance and the second, in 1982, featuring a famous 1-0 win over hosts Spain. Like all-time top marksman David Healy, the great George Best sadly never graced a major tournament.

EURO pedigree
Matches played

Overall: P100 W34 D22 L44 F104 A130
Final tournament: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
Qualifying: P100 W34 D22 L44 F104 A130

Northern Ireland first entered the UEFA European Championship ahead of the 1964 finals, beating Poland 4-0 on aggregate before losing out to eventual winners Spain. Billy Bingham's side overcame West Germany 1-0 in Belfast and Hamburg during qualifying for the 1984 edition – only to be pipped to qualification by the Germans on goal difference.

Fans also got a run for their money during the UEFA EURO 2008 campaign when Healy's prolific strike rate helped them to memorable home wins against eventual champions Spain (3-2), Sweden (2-1) and Denmark (2-1), but Northern Ireland could only finish third in their pool. Under Nigel Worthington they started UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying brightly, a 1-0 win in Slovenia and a 0-0 draw with eventual group winners Italy raising hopes, but the campaign ended in disappointment. A frustrating 1-1 draw in the Faroe Islands and a 4-1 defeat by Estonia in Tallinn did much of the damage.

Memorable EURO matches
06/09/2006: Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain, UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying

Healy scored a hat-trick to seal a memorable victory over Luis Aragonés' side.

16/11/1983: West Germany 0-1 Northern Ireland, 1984 UEFA European Championship qualifying
Norman Whiteside's goal in Hamburg completed a remarkable double against West Germany.

30/05/1963: Spain 1-1 Northern Ireland, 1964 UEFA European Championship qualifying
Willie Irvine's goal raised hope of reaching the last eight, but Northern Ireland lost 1-0 in the return.

Did you know?
Healy's tally of 13 goals in 2008 qualifying was a UEFA European Championship record.

*Last updated on 07/01/2014

Last updated: 28/01/14 18.25CET

Club record in UEFA competitions

  • Biggest win:
    11/09/1991, Faroe Islands 0-5 Northern Ireland, Landskrona
    21/04/1971, Northern Ireland 5-0 Cyprus, Belfast
  • Biggest defeat:
    17/10/1979, Northern Ireland 1-5 England, Belfast
  • Appearances in UEFA European Football Championship: 14
  • Player with most appearances: 35
    Aaron Hughes (NIR)
  • Top scorers: 13
    David Healy (NIR)