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The 4 European Football Teams With Whom Ireland Have Zero History

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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2016 has been a good year for Ireland playing teams we've never played before. We are in the ignoble position of holding of 0% record against Belarus as a result of our only meeting in Turner's Cross at the end of May.

And tonight, we finally make the acquaintance of the Moldovans. They've been around since 1991 and yet we still haven't bumped into them.

But there are still four countries competing under the UEFA banner with whom Ireland have no history.

The anti-Omans we could call them.

Ireland go through periods when they can't stop drawing certain teams out of hats and other periods when they're never matched up with those same teams.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, those mischievous folks in UEFA couldn't stop yoking us together with Northern Ireland. Trips to Windsor Park were part of the itinerary for qualification for Italia 90, USA 94 and Euro 96. But we've not been back to Belfast in a competitive context since late 94, when the North were spanked 4-0.

Qualifying campaigns where we've met England have been well spaced out, with us meeting them in the qualifying campaigns for Sweden '58, Euro '80 and Euro '92. Unfortunately, on all three occasions, England qualified at our expense.


We've bumped into Cyprus in qualification no fewer than five times down the decades. Our history was slight before the dawn of the 21st century, with only a couple of handy victories in the 1982 qualification campaign. In this century, we have drawn them on four occasions.

Germany, Georgia and Macedonia have also been frequent opponents in recent times.

There are seven European teams whom Ireland have never played competitively - seven UEFA members they have never (previously) drawn in either a World Cup or European championship qualifying campaign.


These seven are - Greece, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Slovenia, Ukraine, Belarus and new boys Kosovo.

Of the seven, Ireland have played Greece in three friendlies without scoring once. Glen Crowe made his sole Irish appearance in a friendly in late 2002. While we invited Belarus to Cork for a friendly before flying out to France.

The remaining five have never faced Ireland in either a competitive or an uncompetitive context. All are relatively new members of UEFA. There was no chance of any of them meeting the old East Germany.


All played their first international match in either 1991 or 1992, though Slovenia did exist as an unofficial entity similar to the Catalonia national team dating back to the 1920s.

Not only this, but no League of Ireland club has faced an Azerbaijan side in European competition. They have history with club sides from the other four nations, making Azerbaijan the nation about whom Irish football fans no nothing about.

After tonight, Moldova will leave the list. And the number of UEFA countries with whom Ireland have zero history will be whittled down to four - Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Slovenia and Kosovo.


Read more: The Most Embarrassing Qualification Failures Ever Seen


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