The European Championships may be postponed for another year, but now is the ideal time to take a trip down memory lane with the Boys in Green.
In 2002, Mick McCarthy’s Ireland returned to the world stage having missed out on France 98, impressing on their way to the last 16 where they disappointingly fell to Spain on penalties.
In qualifying, the Boys in Green were extremely impressive, winning seven games, drawing three and losing none, a campaign which included a brilliant 1-0 home victory over Holland at Landsdowne Road.
Ireland met Iran in the playoff and after a 2-1 win on aggregate they booked their place in Japan and Korea where they would meet Germany, Cameroon and Saudi Arabia in Group E.
In the absence of a certain iconic midfielder, Ireland drew with Cameroon in their opening game before rescuing what would become a crucial late point against Germany in their second match.
A comfortable 3-0 win against Saudi Arabia meant that McCarthy’s men booked their place in the last 16 but faced the tricky test of Group B winners Spain who had won all three matches prior.
Ireland played excellently against Spain and arguably should have won the game in normal time (a missed penalty one of the many chances they failed to convert) but it was José Antonio Camacho’s side who triumphed in a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat for the Boys in Green.
Ireland have failed to reach a World Cup finals since 2002 and despite it ending in disappointment it was one of the most memorable tournaments the national side has ever been a part of.
But how well do you remember the 23-man squad Mick McCarthy selected ahead of the finals?
We’re giving you six minutes to name all 23 members of the Ireland squad from the 2002 World Cup. We’ve stuck down the clubs each player was with at the time to give you a clue.
Good luck and let us know how you do.
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